See the most recent status assessment and distribution of the Persian leopard in Iran:
Alive and dead leopard individuals, leopard skeletons, skulls, flat skins and taxidermy individuals were measured from 2002 to 2006, whereas a countrywide survey was undertaken on the status of the Persian leopard in Iran. Measurements were collected based on the WCS biometry protocol for the large cats. Even though biometry measurements were taken by the same person using calibrated equipments, records obtained from the flat skins and taxidermy individuals are always associated with some errors. However, they may still provide valuable information of the leopard total body size in each area. Leopard skulls were measured using calliper. Earlier, Etemad (1985, in Persian) reported biometric data of the leopard flat skins and skulls collected from various parts of the country. See here for general findings of the leopard total body size and skull measurements in Iran.
Fig. 1. Skull of a Persian leopard in Golestan province (Photo: Arezoo Sanei).
Fig. 2. A leopard skeleton in Semnan province (Photo: Arezoo Sanei). Length of this leopard skeleton from tip of the nose to the beginning of the tail collected from Semnan province was measured as 177 cm.
In general, leopard total length (i.e. from tip of the nose to the end of the tail) ranges from about 90 cm to 290 cm. Furthermore, its body weight may range from 28 kg to 90 kg (Kitchener, 1991). Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) particularly in North of Iran is considered among the largest leopard sub-species in the world. As an example, total length of a Malayan adult male leopard in Zoo Negara, Kuala Lumpur was measured as 202 cm. Height of the front shoulder in the same individual was 61 cm and it weighed 47 kg (Sanei, 2010). In Thailand, Grassman, (1999) reported that total length of 2 male leopards were 188 cm and 211 cm with 37 kg and 40 kg weight, respectively. In the same area, total length of a female leopard was measured as 181 cm with 25 kg weight. Alive adult male African leopard (Panthera pardus pardus) was measured as 216 cm in total length and 69 in height of the front shoulder. We hypothesized that in Iran leopard body size may reduce considerably from North and North-east of the country to the Southern areas. Sanei and Zakaria, (2011) revealed that average rainfall in the south-eastern parts of the leopard distribution range in the country is less than 118 mm per year while it has a higher annual average temperature compare to the West and North of Iran. Furthermore, Sanei et al., (2011) highlighted 11 sites with higher diversity of leopard potential prey species within the leopard distribution range in the country, whereas 9 sites were located in North and North-east of Iran. Therefore, it is suggested that prey availability, habitat types and climatic factors, e.g. temperature and average rain fall, might be considered as some of the factors affecting leopard biometric variations. It is recommended that in the next steps further studies could be conducted to supplement the data has been presented in this manuscript to study the leopard biometric variations in relation to environmental factors.
For more information about the Persian leopard please see here.
Etemad I. 1985. Mammals of Iran, volume 2. Department of Environment of Iran, Tehran.
Grassman Jr.L.I. 1999. Ecology and behaviour of the Indochinese leopard in Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand. Natural History Bulletin of the Siam Society47, 77–93.
KhorozyanI., Malkhasyan A. & Asmaryan S. 2005. The Persian leopard prowls its way to survival. Endangered Species Update 22, 51-60.
Kiabi B.H., Dareshouri B.F., Ghaemi R.A. & Jahanshahi M. 2002. Population status of the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor Pocock, 1927) in Iran. Zoology in the Middle East 26, 41-47.
Kitchener A. 1991. The Natural History of the Wild Cats. Comstock Publishing Associates, New York. 280 pp.
Moradi M. 1999. Plan for recognition of natural environment. University of Zanjan, Zanjan. (in Persian)
Sanei A. 2007. Analysis of leopard (Panthera pardus) status in Iran (No.1). Sepehr PublicationCenter, Tehran. 298 p.
Sanei A. & Zakaria M. 2008. Distribution of Panthera pardus in Iran in relation to its habitat and climate type. Pp. 54. In: Saiful A.A., Norhayati A., Shuhaimi M.O., Ahmad A.K. & Zulfahmi A.R. (Ed.). 3rd Regional symposium on environment and natural resources. Universiti Kebangsan Malaysia, Malaysia.
Sanei A. and Zakaria M. 2011. Distribution pattern of the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) in Iran. Asia Life Sciences Supplement 7: 7-18.
Sanei A., Zakaria M. and Hermidas Sh. 2011. Prey composition in the Persian leopard distribution range in Iran. Asia Life Sciences Supplement 7: 19-30.
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