The Iranian government is generally paranoid nowadays. They think that everyone is spying on them, looking for ways to undermine the country. They hate America and Israel and their blood is boiling for violence. Trump makes it worse. Wildlife conservation suffers due to the follies of humankind.
Where does it leave cheetah conservation in Iran where the cheetah has been critically endangered for years and where an estimated 50 cheetahs live? Such a small population makes survival almost unsustainable. Perhaps it is already unsustainable.
Kavous Seyed-Emami who co-founded the Persian Wildlife Heritage, an organisation concerned with cheetah conservation, was hauled into prison where he died. They said he committed suicide in jail but it could just as easily have been murder and probably was.
Eight other conservationists have been jailed. They are accused of spying because they used camera traps to observe and count cheetahs! The Iranian officials say they were using the cameras to spy which is ridiculous because these cameras are (1) positioned in wild places where there is nothing but rock and desert and (2) they are relatively low definition cameras but sensitive to movement. The passing animals trigger the shutter.
A complication is that an American hedge fund billionaire, Thomas Kaplan, funds Panthera which provided technical assistance to the Persian Wildlife Heritage. The American connection fired up the paranoid suspicions of Iranian officials to the point where charges against perfectly decent and honest cheetah conservationists were concocted to serve the purposes of Iran.
It is the Persian cheetah which suffers at the end of the say. It is wars which damage wildlife conservation among many other human follies. Frankly it makes me sick to think of conservationists banged up in some crappy Iranian jail on trumped (forgive the pun) up charges. I hope they get out.
The last report I have is dated 4th September 2019 when we were told that 300 scientists had petitioned the Supreme Leader. That campaign is unlikely to have worked as they are dealing with paranoia.
SOME MORE ON THE CHEETAH: