The Persian Leopard Breeding Program
Photograph: Zoo Archives
Persian leopard is a sub-species of leopard occuring in Iran, Turkey and other parts of Central Asia. The Persian leopard is the largest subspecies of leopard with males reaching a weight of 90 kg. The numbers in the wild of this endangered species are estimated to be between 800 to 1200 individuals. The Jerusalem Zoo participates in the European Endangered Species (EEP) breeding program and is home to one male who came to us from an Italian zoo and two females who are from zoos in Hungary and Slovenia respectively. Some researchers identify the Persian leopard with the Galilee leopard (also called Anatolian leopard), that once occurred in the north of Israel but has been extinct here since the middle of the last century. Israel still home to a different sub-species of leopard, the Arabian or desert leopard. This is a much smaller sub-species with males reaching a weight of only 45 kg. Desert leopards once lived in the Judean desert but are today all but extinct there with an estimated Negev population of only 8-10 individuals. This sub-species of Persian leopard is critically endangered with the global number of individuals being estimated at only around 200.