Skip to main content


Log in

Evaluation of the role of the national parks for Persian leopard (Panther pardus saxicolor, Pocock 1927) habitat conservation (case study: Tandooreh National Park, Iran)

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Mammal Research Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Having knowledge of the habitat requirements of top predators is important for their conservation and also for the stability of wildlife communities since they are keystone species of ecosystems. This study aims to predict suitable habitats for the Persian leopard (Panther pardus saxicolor, Pocock 1927) in Tandooreh National Park, Iran. This species is the largest leopard subspecies in the Middle East and is at high risk of extinction. Presence points for the species have been obtained from field data, literature review, atlas data, and IUCN records. Variables related to human disturbance, terrain, land use/land cover, and the leopards’ prey were used to predict the habitat selection of the Persian leopard by employing binary logistic regression. Our model predicted that the presence of Persian leopards is restricted to the southern, north-western, and western areas of the park which are under severe fragmentation threat. Moreover, leopards avoided areas near human development such as roads. We have also found that the availability of prey such as Capra aegagrus, Ovis vignei, and Ovis orientalis is one of the important parameters to predict habitat suitability for leopards. Our model provides a suitable tool for national park managers to identify biodiversity hotspots since leopards are often associated with high biodiversity.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Abdollahi S (2015) Modeling habitat requirements of leopard (Panthera pardus) using genetic algorithm in Golestan National Park. Environ Resour Res 3(2):151–162

    Google Scholar 

  • Ackers SH, Davis RJ, Olsen KA, Dugger KM (2015) The evolution of mapping habitat for northern spotted owls (Strix occidentalis caurina): a comparison of photo-interpreted Landsat-based and lidar-based habitat maps. Remote Sens Environ 156:361–373

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barbet-Massin M, Jiguet F, Albert CH, Thuiller W (2012) Selecting pseudo-absences for species distribution models: how where and how many? Methods Ecol Evol 3(2):327–338

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ebrahimi A, Farashi A, Rashki A (2017) Habitat suitability of Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) in Iran in future. Environ Earth Sci 76(20):697–707

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bashari H, Hemami MR (2013) A predictive diagnostic model for wild sheep (Ovis orientalis) habitat suitability in Iran. J Nat Conserv 21(5):319–325

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bean WT, Prugh LR, Stafford R, Butterfield HS, Westphal M, Brashares JS (2014) Species distribution models of an endangered rodent offer conflicting measures of habitat quality at multiple scales. J Appl Ecol 51(4):1116–1125

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Cardillo M, Mace GM, Jones KE, Bielby J, Bininda-Emonds OR, Sechrest W, Orme CD, Purvis A (2005) Multiple causes of high extinction risk in large mammal species. Science 309(5738):1239–1241

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Carlson Mazur ML, Kowalski KP, Galbraith D (2014) Assessment of suitable habitat for Phragmites australis (common reed) in the Great Lakes coastal zone. Aquat Invasions 9(1):1–19

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Department of the Environment (DoE) (2008) Management plant for Tandooreh national park, Tehran, pp 150 (in Persian)

  • Elith J, Phillips SJ, Hastie T, Dudík M, Chee YE, Yates CJ (2011) A statistical explanation of MaxEnt for ecologists. Divers Distrib 17(1):43–57

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Erfanian B, Mirkarimi SH, Mahini AS, Rezaei HR (2013) A presence-only habitat suitability model for Persian leopard Panthera pardus saxicolor in Golestan National Park, Iran. Wildl Biol 19(2):170–178

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Farashi A, Naderi M, Parvian N (2016) Identifying preservation zone using multi–criteria decision analysis. Anim Biodivers Conserv 1(4):29–36

    Google Scholar 

  • Farashi A, Shariati M, Hosseini M (2017) Identifying biodiversity hotspots for threatened mammal species in Iran. Mamm Biol-Z Säugetierkd 87:71–88

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Farhadinia MS, Ahmadi M, Sharbafi E, Khosravi S, Alinezhad H, Macdonald DW (2015) Leveraging trans-boundary conservation partnerships: persistence of Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) in the Iranian Caucasus. Biol Conserv 191:770–778

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Farhadinia MS, Mahdavi A, Hosseini-Zavarei F (2009) Reproductive ecology of the Persian leopard Panthera pardus saxicolor in Sarigol National Park, northeastern Iran: (Mammalia: Felidae). Zool Middle East 48(1):13–16

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gavashelishvili A, Lukarevskiy V (2008) Modelling the habitat requirements of leopard Panthera pardus in west and central Asia. J Appl Ecol 45(2):579–588

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ghoddousi A, Hamidi AK, Ghadirian T, Ashayeri D, Hamzehpour M, Moshiri H, Julayi L (2008) Territorial marking by the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor Pocock, 1927) in Bamu National Park, Iran. Zool Middle East 44(1):101–103

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hebblewhite M, Miquelle DG, Murzin AA, Aramilev VV, Pikunov DG (2011) Predicting potential habitat and population size for reintroduction of the Far Eastern leopards in the Russian Far East. Biol Conserv 144(10):2403–2413

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • IUCN Standards and Petitions Subcommittee (2016) Guidelines for Using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria Version 2 Prepared by the Standards and Petitions Subcommittee

  • Jacobson AP, Gerngross P, Lemeris JR, Schoonover RF, Anco C, Breitenmoser-Würsten C, Laguardia A (2016) Leopard (Panthera pardus) status distribution and the research efforts across its range. PeerJ 4:e1974

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Jowkar H, Ostrowski S, Tahbaz M, Zahler P (2016) The conservation of biodiversity in Iran: threats challenges and hopes. Iran Stud 49(6):1065–1077

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Karami M, Ghadirian T, Faizolahi K (2015) The atlas of the mammals of Iran. Department of the Environment of Iran, Tehran

    Google Scholar 

  • Khorozyan I, Malkhasyan A, Asmaryan S (2005) The Persian leopard prowls its way to survival. Endanger Species Update 22(2):51

    Google Scholar 

  • Khoshnegah J, Mohri M, Mirshahi A, Mousavi SJ (2012) Detection of Hepatozoon sp. in a Persian leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica). J Wildl Dis 48(3):776–780

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kiabi BH, Dareshouri BF, Ghaemi RA, Jahanshahi M (2002) Population status of the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor Pocock, 1927) in Iran. Zool Middle East 26(1):41–47

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kimanzi JK, Sanderson RA, Rushton SP (2014) Habitat suitability modelling and implications for management of roan antelopes in Kenya. Afr J Ecol 52(1):111–121

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kimitei KK, Kimanzi J, Andanje SA (2015) Habitat suitability modelling for Hirola (Beatragus hunteri) in Tsavo East National Park Kenya. Afr J Ecol 53(4):550–559

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lundy MG, Buckley DJ, Boston ES, Scott DD, Prodöhl PA, Marnell F, Montgomery WI (2012) Behavioural context of multi-scale species distribution models assessed by radio-tracking. Basic Appl Ecol 13(2):188–195

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lunney D, Stalenberg E, Santika T, Rhodes JR (2014) Extinction in Eden: identifying the role of climate change in the decline of the koala in south-eastern NSW. Wildl Res 41(1):22–34

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Makhdoum MF (2008) Management of protected areas and conservation of biodiversity in Iran. Int J Environ Stud 65(4):563–585

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nowak RM (1999) Walker’s mammals of the world. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore

    Google Scholar 

  • Nowell K, Jackson P (1996) Wild Cats: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan IUCN/SSC. Cat Specialist Group IUCN, Gland

    Google Scholar 

  • Peterson AT, Soberón J, Pearson RG, Anderson RP, Martínez-Meyer E, Nakamura M, Bastos M (2011) Ecological niches and geographic distributions Princeton. University Press Princeton, Princeton 328pp

    Google Scholar 

  • Pradhan P (2016) Strengthening MaxEnt modelling through screening of redundant explanatory bioclimatic variables with variance inflation factor analysis. Researcher 8(5):29–34

    Google Scholar 

  • Roscioni F, Rebelo H, Russo D, Carranza ML, Di Febbraro M, Loy A (2014) A modelling approach to infer the effects of wind farms on landscape connectivity for bats. Landsc Ecol 29(5):891–903

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sadeghinezhad J, Sheibani MT, Memarian I, Chiocchetti R (2017) Morphological study of the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) tongue. Anat Histol Embryol 46(3):240–248

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Safaei M, Kahrom E, Mohammadi M (2012) Study on the causes of wildlife mortality on the Asian road in Golestan National Park in Iran. Wildl Middle East News 6:14

    Google Scholar 

  • Sanei A, Zakaria M (2011) Survival of the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) in Iran: primary threats and human-leopard conflicts. Asia Life Sci Supplement 7:31–39

    Google Scholar 

  • Sanei, A., Zakaria M, Hermidas S (2011) Prey composition in the Persian leopard distribution range in Iran. Asia Life Sciences Supplement 7(1):19–30

  • Sarhangzadeh J, Yavari AR, Hemami MR, Jafari HR, Shams-Esfandabad B (2013) Habitat suitability modeling for wild goat (Capra aegagrus) in a mountainous arid area, central Iran. Caspian J Environ Sci 11(1):41–51

    Google Scholar 

  • Saura S, Bodin Ö, Fortin MJ (2014) EDITOR’S CHOICE: Stepping stones are crucial for species’ long-distance dispersal and range expansion through habitat networks. J Appl Ecol 51(1):171–182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stokland JN, Halvorsen R, Støa B (2011) Species distribution modeling—effect of design and sample size of pseudo-absence observations. Ecol Model 222(11):1800–1809

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Valeix M, Loveridge AJ, Davidson Z, Madzikanda H, Fritz H, Macdonald DW (2010) How key habitat features influence large terrestrial carnivore movements: waterholes and African lions in a semi-arid savanna of north-western Zimbabwe. Landsc Ecol 25(3):337–351

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wingard J, Zahler P, Victurine R, Bayasgalan O, Buuveibaatar B (2014) Guidelines for addressing the impact of linear infrastructure on migratory large mammals in central Asia Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). Technical Report Bonn CMS, Bonn, pp 70

  • Youssefi M, Hoseini S, Zaheri B, Tabari MA (2010) First report of Ancylostoma tubaeforme in Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor). Iran J Parasitol 5(1):61–63

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Ziaee H (2009) Field guide to mammals of Iran. Wildlife Center Publication, Tehran, pp 450 (in Persian)

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Azita Farashi.

Additional information

Communicated by: Hitoshi Suzuki

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Farashi, A., Shariati, M. Evaluation of the role of the national parks for Persian leopard (Panther pardus saxicolor, Pocock 1927) habitat conservation (case study: Tandooreh National Park, Iran). Mamm Res 63, 425–432 (2018).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: