Thirty-three species are included in Afghanistan’s first-ever listing of protected wildlife. Well-known animals like the snow leopard, wolves, and brown bears received full legal protection from hunting and harvesting alongside lesser-known species like the paghman salamander, goitered gazelle, and Himalayan elm tree.
The protected species list consists of twenty mammals, seven birds, four plants, one amphibian, and one insect. However, there are plans to expand the list: the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) predicts an expansion of up to 70 species by the years end.
Snow leopards are one of 33 species now protected by the Government of Afghanistan. Image courtesy of Julie Larsen Maher of Wildlife Conservation Society.
The listing was determined by the Afghanistan Wildlife Exectivbe Committee (AWEC), a group set up by Afghanistan’s National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA); WCS; the Ministry of Afrgiculture, Irrigation, and Livestock; and Kabul University.
“The Wildlife Conservation Society commends the Afghanistan’s National Environment Protection Agency for showing a continued commitment to conserving its natural heritage – even during these challenging times,” said Dr. Steven E. Sanderson, President and CEO of WCS. “WCS believes that conservation can often serve as diplomacy, and we are optimistic that this commitment to conservation will benefit all of Afghanistan’s people.”
NEPA takes on the responsibility of managing protected species, including writing recovery plans for endangered species. The organization plans to evaluate species’ populations every five years.
The announcement comes close on the heels of Afghanistan designating its first National Park in Band-e-Amir.
(04/22/2009) War-wearied Afghanis received uplifting news on Earth Day this year. Their government has announced the creation of the nation’s first national park, Band-e-Amir, protecting a one-of-a-kind landscape encompassing six sky-blue lakes separated by natural dams.
(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.
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.