Rescued Persian leopard recovers in Iraqi zoo

With a trap stuck around its back leg, the rare big cat's chances of survival were diminishing with each passing day.

An Iraqi Kurd who owns lions, Baland Brifkani, told Reuters that others had tried but failed to catch the leopard, adding that their group, which included a veterinarian and Kurdish Peshmerga security forces, also set out with dogs that were instrumental in locating the animal.

The Persian leopard is listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. According to veterinarian Sleiman Tamr, decades of instability and conflict in Iraq contributed to their dwindling numbers in the remote areas of Iraqi Kurdistan.

After finally finding the animal, the group of men brought it to the Dohuk zoo, where Tamr treated its now amputated leg.

Unable to fend for itself in the wild, the leopard will remain in captivity, Tamr said, adding that the leopard's condition was now stabilizing.

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