Campaign starts to protect migratory birds in Hour al-Azim wetland

December 9, 2020 - 22:28

TEHRAN – The Department of Environment (DOE) has launched a campaign to protect migratory birds in the Hour al-Azim international wetland, southwestern Khuzestan province.

Initiated about a week ago, the campaign was launched to create a safe area for migratory birds in the wetland; through the first phase of the campaign, the environmental activists issued a call for cash assistance to feed the birds.

“Based on this, we collected public donations to buy wheat, which according to the welcome of environmentalists from all over the country, in the first 48 hours, 140 million rials (about $3,300) and so far about 160 million rials have been collected, and we bought a ton of quality wheat for the first week.”

So far, environmental enthusiasts donated 160 million rials to provide wheat for the birds, Reza Nik Falak an environmentalist said.

Migratory birds are not safe in natural wetlands due to habitat degradation. According to the DOE, more than 70 percent of the country's wetlands have dried up and the rest are affected by various types of pollution, so the rest of the wetlands do not have the capacity to host this number of birds due to lack of security and adequate food.

Pointing to Hour al-Azim characteristics as the reason for choosing it, he stated that Hour al-Azim is the largest wetland in the country and one of the most important habitats for migratory birds, which hosts the largest number of birds every year.

Hassan Agha Shirmohammadi, commander of the Khuzestan department of environment, said that The Migratory Birds Safe Zone project has been implemented in collaboration with NGOs to create an area with fewer hunters and fishermen.

According to him, this project has been piloted in three points of Hour al-Azim, each with an area of 15 to 20 hectares, and will be expanded.

One ton of wheat was provided by non-governmental organizations, and the DOE also has allocated 450 kilograms of wheat and barley grains seized from violators, he noted.

Located in the southwestern province of Khuzestan bordering Iraq, the wetland had been dried up and turned into a major sand and dust storm hotspot due to oil sector projects and not being granted its water right.

This valuable wetland, on the one hand, is facing destruction and pollution, and on the other hand, is coveted by hunters.

Last [Iranian calendar] year, 150,000 migratory birds counted in the country in the winter census, the highest number of which were in Hour al-Azim wetland amounting to 79,700.

The annual census for migratory birds in Iran begins in the middle of the Iranian calendar month of Dey (December 22-January 20) and ends in the middle of the month of Bahman (January 21-February 19), which will be a 1-month period from January 1 to 31.

FB/MG

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