On 30 January 2018, on the border area between the Shindan forestry of Hirkan National Park and the Almabadi valley, near the villages of Armudu and Onuz of the Astara district, a wild animal presumed to be a leopard attacked and killed a calf belonging to a village resident Talib Ahmadov.
Shortly after the incident, the national park rangers saw an adult female leopard. A week before the incident, the same animal was captured on camera traps installed in the Shindan forestry of the park.
Representatives of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and IDEA Public Union have visited the area, met with local residents and stressed the importance of ongoing conservation efforts aimed at saving the critically endangered species of the country.
It should be noted that, over the past years, IDEA and the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources have been implementing a project on the conservation of leopard populations in Azerbaijan. In addition to conservation efforts, joint activities within the project include regular meetings with local communities and public awareness-raising.
While the big cat caused damage to the farmer's cattle, the man acted as a responsible citizen and did not attempt to kill the wild animal. Upon the initiative of IDEA founder Leyla Aliyeva, the organizations involved in the conservation of the leopard, will take necessary measures to provide compensation to the farmer for the damage.
The leopard species belongs to the cat family and is included both in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species and the Red Book of Azerbaijan. Although the leopard had a wide habitat range in the past, not much evidence was found of its existence in the country by 1960s. Presently, the species has been observed to dwell only in Talish mountains, as well as in the mountainous areas of Zangazur, Garabagh and Nakhchivan.
IDEA Public Union and the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources commend the Astara district farmer for showing restraint during the incident, and call on citizens to always act responsibly in cases involving the Caucasian leopard as well as other rare and endangered animals.