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.
(01/13/2010) Named in 2007 the ‘world’s least known bird’, the large-billed reed warbler has officially lost that title as researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have discovered its breeding ground in the remote Wakham Corridor in the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan. “Practically nothing is known about this species, so this discovery of the breeding area represents a flood of new information on the large-billed reed warbler,” said Colin Poole, Executive Director of WCS’s Asia Program said in a press release.
(08/31/2009) Using camera traps, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has captured the elusive and rare snow leopard on film in Afghanistan for a second time. The feline was caught on film in the Sast Valley in Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. The snow leopard is currently listed as Endangered by the IUCN. The cat is also listed as protected under Afghanistan’s new endangered species list, which outlaws hunting it. The IUCN estimates that only 100-200 snow leopards still survive in Afghanistan.
(06/08/2009) 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.