Zistboom: Iran’s top environmental official expressed deep concerns regarding loss of biodiversity in Iran and the world in a ceremony to commemorate the World Wildlife Day on March 3.
Massoumeh Ebtekar, the head of Department of the Environment (DOE), said more effective programs are needed to prevent wildlife conditions from getting worse, IRNA reported.
“Fortunately, approaches toward wildlife management has been changed and DOE can take measures to save wildlife in collaboration with NGOs, municipalities, city councils and governors,” she said.
Warning about the dwindling population of certain species in Iran, Ebtekar said two out of six tiger species have become extinct in the world, one of which was Caspian Tiger.
“Caspian Tiger was indigenous to Iran and its extinction rings alarm bell to act fast to save other species,” she said.
Ebtekar said the designation of World Wildlife Day on March 3 indicates people are aware of the deteriorating environmental conditions around the world.
“Almost all are aware that the existence of human being is tied to the survival of biodiversity, the loss of which would cause irreparable damage to life cycle,” she said.
The DOE chief said changes in political approaches are also needed to save nature.
“Many international conventions and agreements have been signed to enhance global environmental protection,” she said, lamenting that a rising number of elephants are being poached for their ivory and whales are hunted for their meat.
She noted that this shows conventions to save wildlife are only on paper and no effective actions have been taken to address environmental concerns in reality.
Ebtekar pointed to the death of a number of Iranian leopards in the current Iranian year (ending March 20, 2014), blaming road accidents as the main culprit.
“Raising public awareness will help prevent such incidents in future,” she said.
Ahmad Ali Keikha, the deputy head of DOE, who also attended the ceremony on Monday, said Iran is home to 9,140 types of vertebrates, 74 of which are at risk.
“Iran has 535 bird species, which is equal to the total bird species in Europe, indicating Iran’s rich biodiversity,” he said.
Keikha said the designation of March 3 as World Wildlife Day shows the world has realized the importance of biodiversity.
“Different sessions of the United Nations concluded that speedy measures must be taken to prevent the decline of valuable species in the world,” he said.
Keikha said 9, 610 cases of illegal hunting, 72 cases of illegal fishing and 3,897 seizure of unauthorized weapons were recorded in the first nine months of the current Iranian year.
He mentioned unsustainable development, which is not compatible to Nature, as the other challenge facing the country’s environment after illegal hunting.
“Unsustainable development has been found to be the main cause of the drying up of lakes and wetlands,” he said.
The official said Iran is a corridor for the passage of poachers due to its geographical condition, which is a threat to the country’s wildlife.
Keikha noted that environmental police are needed to fight poachers.
“To prevent the spread of animal diseases, collaboration between DOE and veterinary organization is needed,” he said.
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