Northwestern wetlands hosting myriads of migratory birds

October 11, 2020 - 21:0

TEHRAN – With the onset of the cold season, wetlands in the northwestern province of Ardebil are hosting tens of thousands of migratory birds, Saeed Shahand, head of the provincial department of environment, has said.

Migratory birds such as swans, geese, ducks, coots, cormorants, cranes, herons, sandpipers, and a number of birds of prey have entered the country from the northern regions, especially the Siberia, he said, adding, some of them will stay in Ardebil province until spring and some others migrate to warmer regions, like the Caspian Sea.

He pointed out that there are more than 52,000 hectares of wetlands in the province, and called on wildlife lovers to prevent hunting and trapping of birds or the destruction of wetland habitats.

Wetlands are ecosystems saturated with water, either seasonally or permanently. They store water and ensure its quality, providing resilience against drought. They play a central role in sustainable development by supplying all our freshwater.

Wetlands play a major role in protecting the land against floods and the impacts of storms. They provide food and diverse habitats which support genetic, species, and ecosystem biodiversity. Wetlands play a key role in the life cycles of many species and in annual migration patterns.

Unfortunately, wetlands are being degraded and lost due to pollution, overexploitation, climate change, and human population growth. In recognition of these challenges, the RAMSAR Convention, an international treaty, was adopted in 1971.

There are 80 big and small wetlands in the country, 24 sites designated as wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites) out of 2,290 worldwide. About one-third of Iran’s 24 sites are under pressure or in a critical condition.

Chief of the DOE Issa Kalantari has said in order to restore wetlands in the country a budget of 600 trillion rials (nearly $14 billion) is required.