Code: 1640
  Published Date:  Monday, April 25, 2016

Iran Insures Cheetahs for Liability Hoping To Set Global Example

Iran signed a cheetah insurance policy agreement on Saturday during a ceremony held in the Natural History Museum located in Tehran’s Pardisan Eco Park.

(Iran's Environment News Agency) - Iran signed a cheetah insurance policy agreement on Saturday during a ceremony held in the Natural History Museum located in Tehran’s Pardisan Eco Park.

While bitter reports of the death of a cheetah in Boyer-Ahmad, apparently pregnant with quadruplets, were still making the rounds in print and online media, environmental officials and a volunteering insurance company announced an innovative measure that could help preserve the critically endangered species.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between Iran’s Department of Environment, the National Environment Fund, and Ma Insurance Company to provide liability insurance for Iranian cheetahs in the hope of saving them from extinction.
The executive director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Achim Steiner, who was on a visit to take part in the second edition of the International Seminar on Environment, Religion and Culture, as well as the head of Iran’s Department of Environment (DoE), attended the ceremony.
“This is a new cooperation with the country’s insurance sector which has taken significant steps with regard to its social responsibilities,” said Deputy President and DoE director, Massoumeh Ebtekar.
The cooperation will have a remarkable message not only in national levels but also in the global scene and can turn into a worldwide example as environmental protection is among the most important global concerns, added Ebtekar.
“So far, effective measures have been adopted to minimize cheetah mortality rates, promote the significance of the species’ protection among people, and reduce tensions between cheetahs and local people,” Mizan Online quoted her as saying.
UNEP executive director Steiner also called the insurance agreement an innovative measure he will try to introduce in other countries to encourage economic sectors to get involved in environmental activities. The comprehensive Iranian cheetah insurance agreement has turned three losing parties into three winners, he said. “The leopards which attack the livestock and get hurt killed as a result, the shepherds who bear losses as a result of such attacks and the Department of Environment that is in charge of wildlife protection are the three winners,” Tehran Times quoted him as saying.
“Being an umbrella species, Persian leopards are very important to the environment and the lives of other species,” the director of Conservation, Hunting and Fishing Office at the DoE Ali Teymouri said on the sidelines of the ceremony.
The insurance aims at compensating the losses inflicted upon human beings, livestock such as lambs, horses, donkeys, cows, and camels as well as the leopards themselves, Teymouri explained.
Ma Insurance Company, which belongs to Iran’s Mellat Bank and the Petroleum Ministry Pension Fund, has expressed hope the move can promote an insurance culture in Iran and prevent villagers from killing cheetahs using guns. The CEO of Ma, Majid Safdari, says his company would stand by the DoE in cases the cheetahs are victimized by other incidents such as baiting, road crossings, and diseases, according to Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA). The ceiling for compensations will stand at 65 million tomans (roughly $21500). More than 70 percent of the species’ mortalities are blamed on poachers and poisoned baits.
According to a statement issued by Ma Insurance Public Relations, the insurance policy mainly covers livestock damages caused by cheetah attacks but will also include third party physical damages. The voluntary initiative also offers compensation for damages to the environment inflicted through causes including road accidents, baiting and poisoning, drought, floods, fires among others except for death due to old age in order to improve protection and reduce threats to the species. A less publicized coverage included in the memorandum of understanding targets wolves and the damages caused by their attacks.
Ma has also responded to reports on the death of the leopard that died of difficult delivery beside her four cubs, in a no-hunt zone in Khorram Naz, located near the city of Boyer-Ahmad in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province, south-west of the country. Ma has pledged to compensate for the death, promising to make a public announcement when they make the first payment.
The Persian leopard, also called the Caucasian leopard or Central Asian leopard, is enlisted as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
The species was not spotted in years until a picture surfaced in the 1980s and in another event, locals attacked several cubs and their mother where only one cub survived. These led to multilateral conservation efforts in Iran. However, only some 50 adult cheetah remain in the wild in Iran.
An article published on Tabnak, hours before the ceremony held to sign the memorandum of understanding, hailed the move as an effective measure in the conservation of the species and asks for the same model to be implemented on other endangered animals.
End Item

by Alireza Ghamkhar, Translate Fatemeh Ghamkhar

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