“This winter we observed a flock of 410 Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus and considerable numbers of Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca – both Vulnerable – in Kurdistan”, said Korsh Ararat – leader of Nature Iraq’s KBA surveys in northern Iraq. …
“We observed African Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus and African Darter Anhinga rufa making the Mesopotamian Marshes one of the only known sites in the Middle East for these birds. In addition, we recorded over 5,000 Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris, 2,340 Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa and seven Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga – all Globally Threatened or Near-Threatened species”, added Mudhafar Salim. …
However, the marshes are now shrinking again as a result of drought and intensive dam construction and irrigation schemes upstream. “Flooding has been disrupted by the dams built in Turkey, Syria and Iraq itself”, noted Dr Azzam Alwash. “The natural flow system is not going to return until and unless the dams outside Iraq are actively managed as part of a basin-wide coordinated management of the Tigris and Euphrates. In response, Nature Iraq is currently producing a drought management plan”.
As Iraq runs dry, a plague of snakes is unleashed: here.
A flim documentary on the regeneration of Iraq’s Mesopotamian Marshes, a project led by Azzad Alwash, the CEO of BirdLife Affiliate Nature Iraq, will get its first public screening tomorrow on the UK’s BBC TV Channel. The documentary is being shown at 2000 GMT on BBC2’s Natural World series: here.
In recent years, many people have been struggling to survive in Iraq. Even now the country’s far from safe. However, since 2005 Nature Iraq (BirdLife Partner) staff have been doggedly surveying the rich biodiversity found within their country, taking them to some of the most dangerous spots in search of elusive species like Critically Endangered Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius: here.
The Birdwatcher of Baghdad: here.
Azzam Alwash, Founder and President of Nature Iraq, gave a presentation at the recent TED Worldwide Talent Search on protecting Iraq’s natural environment and cultural heritage: here.
August 2013. The Iraqi Council of Ministers has approved the designation of the Central Marshes of Iraq as the country’s first National Park. The efforts to declare this unique landscape as a National Park and protected area began in 2006 through a joint effort by Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Environment, and Ministry of Municipalities with support from Nature Iraq, an Iraqi environmental conservation organization, and other national and international institutions. Financial support for the effort came from the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land & Sea: here.
Despite the all-too gloomy news of the terrible troubles in Iraq, there are still highlights – little jewels – that show the resilience and determination of the Iraqi people to treasure and protect their natural heritage: here.
Meet Azzam Alwash, the man who left a life of luxuries behind in the US to return to his native Iraq and restore the country’s historically significant wetlands to their former glory: here.
Qatari Students Join CI in Mapping Mangroves: here.
New Technology Aims to Expand Knowledge of Qatar’s Mangroves: here.
- This Is Iraq’s First National Park (fastcoexist.com)
- Garden of Eden to become Iraqi national park (newscientist.com)
- New Iraqi National Park May Be a Game Changer (newswatch.nationalgeographic.com)
- Iraq’s Newly Protected Marshes a Huge Conservation Turnaround (greenprophet.com)
- Paradise Restored: Iraq’s first national park (smartplanet.com)
- Has the Bible’s Garden of Eden Been Found – and Restored? (lynleahz.com)