Urials, proposed by Iran, added to UN global wildlife agreement

February 24, 2020 - 16:44

TEHRAN – The Thirteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP13) has approved Iran’s proposal to include urials in the United Nation's list of endangered animals.

The CMS COP13 was held February 15 - 22 in Gandhinagar, India, with resolutions and decisions adopted to help conserve migratory species globally.

The meeting approved a proposal submitted by Iran, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to include urials in the United Nation's list of top ten endangered animals for conservation, IRNA reported on Sunday.

In addition to Asian elephants, jaguars and great Indian bustards, all slated to receive the strictest protection under Appendix I, Bengal floricans, little bustards, antipodean albatrosses and oceanic white-tip sharks also made the cut.  

Meanwhile, urials along with smooth hammerhead and tope sharks were listed as migratory species that would benefit from enhanced international cooperation and conservation actions. 

Maintaining and restoring ecological connectivity is a top CMS priority, especially in managing migratory species and their habitats – as evidenced by the newly adopted Gandhinagar Declaration, which was affirmed by 130 party countries.

The Declaration calls for migratory species and the concept of “ecological connectivity” to be integrated and prioritized in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which is expected to be adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference in October.

The urial (Ovis orientalis vignei), also known as the arkars or shapo, is a subspecies group of the wild sheep Ovis orientalis. Noticeable features are the reddish-brown long fur that fades during winter; males are characterized by a black ruff stretching from the neck to the chest and large horns. 

The urial is found in western central Asia from northeastern Iran and western Kazakhstan to Pakistan's Balochistan and Chitral, and in Ladakh, India. To the east it is replaced by the bigger argali and to the southwest by the Asiatic mouflon. Its habitat consists of grassy slopes below the timberline. 

The conservation status of the urial is threatened as their habitat is perfectly suitable for human development; however, the urial population has been recovering in recent years.


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