Afghanistan protects 15 additional endangered species

Jeremy Hance
March 02, 2010

Afghanistan's National Environment Protection Agency (NEP) has added 15 species to its Protected Species List, totaling 48 species now under protection. The new species includes the large-billed reed warbler, which was only recently discovered in the Central Asian nation. Fortunately, by law newly discovered species in Afghanistan receive automatic legal protection.

The large-billed reed warbler was until recently called the 'world's least-known bird' with only a few individuals collected in sites in India and Thailand. But then in June of this year researchers with the Wildlife Conservaiton Society (WCS) confirmed the birds' breeding ground in the remote Wakham Corridor in the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan, recording more individuals than anyone had ever seen.

"By formally protecting the large-billed reed warbler as well as other wildlife, Afghanistan’s National Environment Protection Agency has shown a strong commitment to conserving its natural heritage – even during these challenging times," said Peter Zahler, WCS Deputy Director for Asia programs, in a press release. "WCS believes that with 80 percent of Afghans directly dependent on their natural resources for survival, the country’s reconstruction and stability depends on sustainable resource management."

New species added to Afghanistan Protected List:

Eastern barbastelle, Barbastella leucomela
Bactrian deer, Cervus elaphus bactrianus
Indian gazelle, Gazella bennetti
Goitered gazelle Gazella subgutturosa
Striped hyena Hyaena hyaena
Stone marten Martes foina
Mehely's horseshoe bat Rhinolophus mehelyi
Blanford's fox Vulpes cana
Large-billed reed warbler Acrocephalus orinus
Eastern imperial eagle Aquila heliaca
Pallas' fish eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus
White-rumped vulture Gyps bengalensis
Marbled teal Marmaronetta angustirostris
Dalmation pelican Pelecanus crispus
Sociable lapwing Vanellus gregarious
East Himalayan fir Abies spectabilis

Large-billed reed warbler. Image courtesy of WCS-Afghanistan.

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Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (March 02, 2010).

Afghanistan protects 15 additional endangered species .