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Endangered Leopards Thriving in Minefields 

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  #1  
Old 12-28-2014, 03:51 PM
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Endangered Leopards Thriving in Minefields

For humans it probably ranks as one of the world's most dangerous nature reserves, but the mine-strewn border between Iran and Iraq has become an unlikely sanctuary for one of the world's most endangered species of leopard.

The legacy of the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s has left up to 30 million landmines in the region, allowing the endangered Persian leopard to roam free from the threat of poachers. The munitions continue to kill and maim residents along the 1450km border, but in the mountainous Kurdistan region there are reports the Persian leopard, which rarely puts all its weight down on one paw, is too light to detonate the Soviet-era pressure-triggered landmines.

Conservation efforts in the region have floundered since the 1980s. But the unofficial leopard sanctuaries along the border now mean that conservation charities in the area are in the unusual position of planning to oppose new plans to remove landmines. "Environmentally speaking, mines are great because they keep people out," Azzam Alwash, the head of Nature Iraq, told National Geographic.

Conservationists report that the danger of landmines is a far greater deterrent than law enforcement. Although the 80kg leopards are too light to set off anti-tank mines or less advanced anti-personnel mines, two of the animals died after setting off more advanced tripwire mines.

The animal is listed on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, with research showing that more than 70 were poisoned or illegally killed for their pelts from 2007 to 2011.

The Iran-Iraq border minefields are not the only conflict zone offering protection to wildlife. The demilitarised zone between North Korea and South Korea is also a haven for wildlife, while the Falkland Islands' penguin population has thrived in several large minefields laid during the brief 1982 Argentinian occupation.


• Scientists now believe that fewer than 1000 wild Persian leopards remain.
• The natural habitat of the Persian leopard ranges from eastern Turkey to western Pakistan and includes vast tracts of the Caucasus and Russia.

• Most of the surviving leopards are to be found in Iran on the border with Iraq

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Old 12-28-2014, 04:37 PM
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Re: Endangered Leopards Thriving in Minefields

Yay leopards!!

One positive effect of all the conflict there.

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Old 12-28-2014, 07:23 PM
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Re: Endangered Leopards Thriving in Minefields

I think the leopards are holding all that remains of Saddam's stocks of poison gas.

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Old 12-29-2014, 03:15 PM
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Re: Endangered Leopards Thriving in Minefields

they can eat the remains of the poachers that do enter and step on a mine

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Old 12-29-2014, 10:31 PM
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Re: Endangered Leopards Thriving in Minefields

Go leopards

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Old 12-30-2014, 02:12 AM
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Re: Endangered Leopards Thriving in Minefields

Leopards rock! Too bad they didn't think of this before the demise of the white rhino- or is it the black one? I dunno- whatever.

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Old 12-30-2014, 04:32 PM
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Re: Endangered Leopards Thriving in Minefields

good for them

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Old 01-01-2015, 02:32 PM
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Re: Endangered Leopards Thriving in Minefields

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Originally Posted by vagabond View Post
Leopards rock! Too bad they didn't think of this before the demise of the white rhino- or is it the black one? I dunno- whatever.
Mine fields and 5,000lb animals do not mix.
Would not help in the conservation of rhinos.

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Old 01-01-2015, 07:16 PM
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Re: Endangered Leopards Thriving in Minefields

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Originally Posted by CrunchyCripple View Post
Mine fields and 5,000lb animals do not mix.
Would not help in the conservation of rhinos.
Duh! How embarrassing- did not even think of that, we need a "blushing" smiley, lol! Anyway, you know what I mean!

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Old 01-02-2015, 08:42 PM
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Re: Endangered Leopards Thriving in Minefields

Awww Jeeez. I turn so emotional when I see big cats. I love them so much like a ridiculous women

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