IUCN –The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland (7.12.2005) - The leopard (Panthera pardus) is the most persecuted large cat species in the world.
Leopards have been eradicated from vast tracts of their former range, due mainly to habitat loss, depletion of natural prey, and human persecution. Despite this, leopards are often seen as a low conservation priority. An ever-increasing number of leopards are being destroyed by farmers, pastoralists and illegal hunters. Yet, while numerous studies have been executed on the ecology and behaviour of leopards, the conservation needs of the species have never been addressed. In response to this, and as a result of increased hunting in the region, the Mun-Ya-Wana Leopard Project, involving members of the SSC Cat Specialist Group, is investigating the long-term sustainability of leopards in northern Kwa Zulu-Natal, South Africa, across a mosaic of different land-uses and persecution levels. The project aims to assess the population status and establish an agreement between landowners on the consumptive and non-consumptive use of leopards in the region, while ensuring that a viable population persists. Read the full project brief and preliminary results on the Cat Specialist Group website.
For further information contact
Andrew McMullin, IUCN Species Programme Communications Officer
Tel: +41 (0)22 999 0153