The head of Iran’s Environment and Wildlife Watch has reported that poachers hunted down a rare Iranian panther.
Keyvan Hooshmand told the Mehr News Agency that in an undercover operation, rangers posed as buyers and were presented with a leopard skin by poachers, who were arrested at the scene.
The perpetrators, who are currently in custody, were offering the skin at 20 million rials.
Iran’s mountainous regions are the Iranian panther’s only habitat in Western Asia, and the species is considered to be endangered.
Latest reports indicate that from 2008 to 2011, 71 panthers were killed in Iran. Of those deaths, 70 percent were due to illegal hunting with the rest attributed to road accidents.
The fine for illegal hunting of the panther is set at 50 million rials.