October 2006- In collaboration with the Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS), local people in Bafq protected support the educational programs to save the last remains of the Iranian cheetah inside its highest density habitat in the country.
During this educational programs which has been launched since summer 2006, there will be various activities to increase the awareness of different local target groups, including students, teachers, herders, villagers and hunters. In order to start the project, local authorities attention and collaboration have been drawn during joint sessions to present the educational programs and a local core group has been formed, composed of 2 local NGOs and representatives of different main governmental organizations.
Prior to the main public awareness campaign, 3 capacity building workshops were held by ICS, aiming to empower the people involved in this plan inside the cheetah habitats with participants from ICS, local NGOs, the Department of the Environment, Governor’s office, etc. Participants from the ICS along with their local colleagues could get many information and abilities on collaboration and interaction with local communities. During the last workshop in September 2006 in Bafq, the people got lots of knowledge on different approaches to work with local communities, stakeholders analysis, facilitating skills, different techniques for communication with people and gathering information which each skill/technique was actively practiced in teams.
Located in central province of Yazd, Bafq Protected Area has the highest density of the critically endangered Asiatic cheetah in the country with an estimated population of at least 15 animals. On the other hand, the area has been witnessed the highest human-oriented mortality among its cheetah population, at least 1.5 cheetahs per year since 1994. The Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) plans to increase local people’s knowledge about the cheetah and other species during a 2 years educational program to reduce the mortality due to lack of awareness.