Recent camera trapping efforts in northeastern Iran indicate that the Asiatic cheetahs have bred in the area. Accordingly, an adult female cheetah has been photo trapped while coming to a waterhole in Miandasht Wildlife Refuge, a reserve which has been monitored by the Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) since 2003. Despite deployment of high-tech digital camera traps at all known water sources of this arid area since early summer; however, the cheetah who must have cubs was taken only once at these water sources, revealing its magnificent adaptability to survive in arid areas of Iran. The animal’s prominent nipples indicate the she has cubs, at least two according to the ICS experts. During past decade, only a few cheetah families have been identified in Miandasht, no more than 2 cubs per litter. However, this image indicates that this area is a reliable source for the cheetah in northeastern Iran, not far from its former range in Turkmenistan. Except the critically endangered Asiatic cheetah, six other carnivores have been recorded in this area on images, including grey wolf, striped hyena, golden jackal, common fox, wild cat and stone marten.
The present project is the third phase of Iran’s national cheetah monitoring plan initiated since end of 2011 in central country, then moving to Abbas Abad in spring 2012 and now is jointly implemented by the Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) and North Khorasan Department of Environment in collaboration with CACP and Panthera, hoping to provide a reliable estimate of the cheetah across multiple reserves in Iran.
The ICS would like to thank all donors and partners who supported us to implement this plan which without their help, it was not possible. We are grateful to stichting SPOTS, WWF INNO, CEPA/La Palmyre Zoo, PBNF, Parc des Felins, Panthera, and individual donors. We are keen to check the camera traps again to see the cheetah’s cubs captured. Let’s cross finger for them!