1 Tahrcountry Musings: Wildlife and Environment in Afghanistan- More Encouraging News

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Wildlife and Environment in Afghanistan- More Encouraging News

The war has taken a heavy toll of Afghanistan’s wildlife. Ecosystem in many areas has been devastated by more than 30 years of conflict. By 2002, 52 percent of the forest cover had been lost. The new threats that follow the war are contractors and the development agenda. Habitat degradation has affected both the wildlife and the people. In spite of all these problems Afghanistan still has lot of wildlife. It still has 9 felid species compared to 11 for the African continent. Afghanistan has sizable populations of snow leopards, Persian leopards and the charismatic Marco Polo Sheep, the world's largest sheep

The prophets of doom have been proved wrong. Amidst all the cacophony in Afghanistan, things are looking up for the wildlife. Recently Afghanistan had designated its first National Park in Band-e-Amir. Close on the heels of this comes another exciting news.

Afghanistan’s first-ever listing of protected wildlife list has been released by the Afghanistan Wildlife Exectivbe Committee (AWEC) coming under Afghanistan’s National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA). Thirty-three species twenty mammals, seven birds, four plants, one amphibian, and one insect finds place in the list. Protected species include Snow Leopard, Wolves, Brown Bears, Goitered gazelle and paghman salamander. The list also includes the Himalayan elm tree.

Afghanistan is also looking at the possibility of creating a network of parks. Conservation is very critical in a country where so many people directly depend on local natural resources for their survival. One man who has championed the cause of wildlife relentlessly is the legendary wildlife biologist Dr. George B Schaller. Schaller's dream is to bring the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and China together in an effort to develop a four-country transboundary park in the Pamirs to give a boost to the protection of this unique mountain ecosystem.

1 comment:

Anita Verghese said...

Amidst all the news of agony and misery of war this is indeed exciting news