Iraq is rife with environmental woes, as Arwa points out in her survey. And some of the most endangered animals are migratory birds: the Basra Reed Warbler (found in the southern Marshlands) and the Egyptian Vulture (found in the Kurdistan-Iraq Mountains) are especially at risk.
To honor World Migratory Bird Day May 14-15 this year, the nature conservation group, Nature Iraq will be participating with the French Cultural Center in Erbil to highlight the migratory routes through Iraq and its marshlands, stressing the importance sites like the marshlands for migratory birds. See below for some of the activities planned.
As part of the group’s activities, Richard Porter, adviser to BirdLife International and author of Birds of the Middle East, will be visiting Nature Iraq’s Sulaimani office to provide input on eco-tourism and protected area development.
Additional activities are planned in Baghdad and Chibaish where Iraq’s southern marshes are arguably the most important site in the whole of the Middle East as a stop-over site for migratory birds. (Some also say Israel is, as the migratory birds travel along the Syrian-African rift, stopping off at the Hula Valley for a drink.)
To this end, Nature Iraq has been working with the Iraqi Ministry of Environment to develop protected areas throughout the country including a National Park in the Central Marshes near Chibaish, Southern Iraq, and a number of pilot projects are underway in that area.
The organization also starts its new project “Iraq Upper Tigris Waterkeeper” in May as the new Waterkeeper, Nabil Musa, begins his work to advocate for rivers and the communities that depend upon them – including birds.
::Nature Iraq (in Arabic and English)
For more on Iraq and its environmental concerns see:
Iraqi Sheikh Threatens to Demonstrate If Kurds Don’t Share Water
US Leaves Iraq with a Legacy of Waste
Peak Wheat? One Tenth of Iraq’s Wheat Attacked by Killer Fungus