© WWF России / Виктор Лукаревский

The leopard is one of a member of the Felidae family with a wide range in regions of sub-Saharan Africa, West Asia, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia to Siberia. Scientists distinguish nine subspecies of a leopard. The Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxilolor) is the largest leopard subspecies, and is native to northern Iran, eastern Turkey, the Caucasus mountains, southern Turkmenistan, and parts of western Afghanistan.

By compiling national estimates (which include adults, sub-adults and cubs), the total number of mature individuals of this subspecies is fewer than 871-1,290. The most recent crude national population estimates are: 550-850 in Iran; 200-300 in Afghanistan; 78-90 in Turkmenistan;

The Persian leopard is listed in CITES (Convention on international trade in the types of wild fauna and flora) Appendix I, Red Data Book of the Russian Federation.

Since 2005 WWF-Russia has started the project of Persian leopard restoration in Western Caucasus. This is a very ambitious program and it has no analogues in world practice.