This episode, we’re on the prowl for one of the rarest cats on the planet: the elusive Persian Leopard. Until the 20th century, leopards were the kings of the Caucasus mountain range. But as Tsarist Russia conquered Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, leopards were intensely persecuted. Deforestation, farmland and roads began to fragment its habitat. In recent decades, efforts to conserve the species have brought glimmers of hope for the population. But as journalist and explorer Jack Losh discovered, this is a species caught between two warring states. Will the legacy of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict seal the leopard’s fate? Or can the conservation of this transboundary species help to unite old enemies? This episode is professionally narrated by actor Simon Paisley-Day.
Second, we speak with Valeri Modebadze, Professor of International Relations and Politics at the Georgian Technical University. In 2020, the age-old territorial dispute over the contested territory of Nagorno Karabakh reignited. But since a peace deal was reached in November 2020, there’s been little media coverage of the legacy it has left, particularly in the era of Covid-19. Modebadze briefs us on the past, present and future of Nagorno Karabakh.