Wanton destruction of natural habitats in Khuzestan Province is threatening the survival of numerous species, many of which are endemic to the oil-rich province. Rivers of Dez and Karkheh and their tributaries, like Sakhiri and Ajirab, along with freshwater ecosystems and 230,000 hectares of oak forest have turned the province’s northern regions into a vast habitat for a variety of indigenous species, including Shirbot and Barzom fish.
Furthermore, rare species such as the Persian fallow deer and Euphrates softshell turtle are found here. However, illegal hunting and unauthorized fishing are threatening the province’s biodiversity, the head of the Department of Environment office in Dezful, Farhad Qolinejad, was quoted as saying by IRNA.
He said establishing more patrols across the region and raising public awareness toward the importance of wildlife conservation have helped but is not enough as the threat still persists. Haft Tanan, one of the most biologically diverse regions in western Iran, was declared a no-hunting zone in 2013 and Qal’e Shadab region received the same status a year later. Understaffed, the DOE has been unable to enforce the law, giving poachers a free reign who make a mockery of the law with impunity.