A Bears in Mind-funded research study between 2010-2013 conducted by the Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) focused mainly on Female Core Areas. These are areas inhabited by female bears, often with their offspring. Therefore, it is important to carefully protect these areas. More in-depth knowledge will help the government to implement stricter and more specific conservation measures. In the long run, these measures will contribute to the survival of bears in Iran. A national Brown Bear Management Plan will be formulated based on the research results.
Protecting the bears
This research will lead to the creation of a topical database containing numbers, distribution and information about the genetic relationship among brown bears. This data will be used in training sessions and workshops for the Iranian authorities, responsible for protecting the bears and their habitat. This knowledge will enable them to better address the problem of poaching.
All gathered data combined and analyzed, it shows us that brown bears prefer habitats far from human settlements and tend to prefer habitats with higher slope and elevation. As a result, more than 13% of Lorestan territory is considered to be suitable for the species. However, official protection has been established within no more than 27.7 % of the species suitable areas. These findings highlight further importance of enhancing bear conservation across the Province and probably, the entire Zagros region through identification of high priority areas, particularly in southern province.
Finally, management implications have been discussed and shared with local authorities. All the data were also shared with Lorestan Department of Environment so they can promote monitoring plans.