Following the death of a twelfth Persian Leopard so far this year, the deputy head of Wildlife Protection for the Department of Environment announced that an emergency committee has been established to protect the panthers.

Ahmadali Kikha told IRNA that the committee consists of wildlife experts and officials and their mission is to reduce the threats against this rare species.

Estimates indicate that an average of eight Leopards have been killed in each of the past six years.

In recent weeks a leopard was found killed and burned in Kachsaran region.

Experts say protecting the panther’s habitat is equally as important as educating the public against hunting.

The killing of panthers has been of grave concern to wildlife activists, who maintain that if the trend continues, the Persian Leopard will meet the same fate as the Asiatic cheetah, which is now a seriously endangered species whose numbers are estimated at 50 to 70.