April 22, 2009
Announced by Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) at a ceremony in the FAO Building at the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock in Kabul this morning, key funding for the park was provided by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
WCS scientist Chris Shank meets with two Afghan park guards. Photo by: Chris Shank from WCS.
“At its core, Band-e-Amir is an Afghan initiative supported by the international community. It is a park created for Afghans, by Afghans, for the new Afghanistan,” said Dr. Steven E. Sanderson, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “Band-e-Amir will be Afghanistan’s first national park and sets the precedent for a future national park system.”
The largest of the six lakes. Photo by: Alex Dehgan from WCS.
Unfortunately much of the park’s wildlife has already been lost. But surveys for the new park found ibex; urials, a wild sheep with massive horns; wolves; foxes; and the Afghan snow finch, the only endemic bird in the country. Snow leopards used to dwell in the region but vanished during the 1980s because of hunting.
Another view of one of the lakes. Photo by: Chris Shank from WCS.
Next on the list, Afghanistan is looking at creating a network of parks, including possible protection for the abundant wildlife in the Pamir Mountains.
U.S. military attacks illegal wildlife trade in Afghanistan
(08/22/2007) The U.S. military has teamed with the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to attack the illegal wildlife trade in Afghanistan, according to a statement from the Department of Defense.
Adventures in conservation: protecting wildlife in Afghanistan: An interview with Dr. Alex Dehgan, Afghanistan Country Director for the Wildlife Conservation Society
(08/07/2007) Few people associate Afghanistan with wildlife and it would come as a surprise to many that the war-torn, but fledging democracy is home to snow leopards, Persian leopards, five species of canid (wild dog), Marco Polo Sheep, Asiatic Black Bear, Brown Bears, Striped Hyenas, and numerous bird of prey species.
Conservation in War-Torn Afghanistan Begins
(06/26/2006) In a country known more for conflict than conservation, a joint effort by the government of Afghanistan and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been launched to protect the region's unique wildlife and develop the country's first official system of protected areas.