Great bustard close to extinction, DOE warns

TEHRAN- The great bustard (Otis tarda) is disappearing at an alarming rate so that just around 20 of the birds have remained in the country, the Department of Environment has warned.

Great bustard, one of Iran's endangered animal species, is at the risk of becoming extinct because of loss of habitat and indiscriminate hunting in the west and northwest of the country.

Hassan Akbari, the deputy head of the Department of Environment for natural resources and biodiversity, announced on Friday that the great bustard is the second critically endangered species, after cheetahs, as there are only 20 of the species left, IRNA reported.

The western province of Kordestan and the northwestern province of West Azarbaijan are the main habitats of the bird in Iran.

Endangered species

In December 2021, Akbari said there were about 1,300 species of animals in the country, 130 of which are endangered and threatened.

Asiatic cheetahs, great bustard, Siberian crane, Persian onager, and some reptiles and amphibians are among the endangered and threatened species, he said.

Significant smuggling and habitat destruction are the main threats to the species, and promoting a culture of kindness to the environment and strengthening social participation is one of the most important and effective strategies in protecting the environment, he further explained.

The availability of large quantities of weapons and ammunition to the poachers is another risk factor for wildlife populations, Akbari added.

“Four types of areas, amounting to 309, have been designated for preservation and protection, including, national parks, wildlife refuges, protected areas, and natural national monuments.

Currently, the supervised areas reached about 18.5 million hectares.

The strategy and priority of the DOE are to protect endangered species through preservation of natural habitats, but in some cases, it is necessary to pursue species reproduction in captivity or by species displacement,” he noted.

“Many articles have been published about the country's biodiversity, which is scattered and attempts are being made to compile and use these researches by creating a database.

In 2022, a newly-updated list of endangered vertebrate species showed that more than 100 vertebrate species are in danger of extinction, and over 160 species are on the list of supported and protected vertebrates.

The list was revised with the efforts of the National Museum of Natural History and Genetic Resources and the Office of Wildlife Conservation and Management, based on criteria such as threat factors, population status, limited distribution and endemicity, smuggling status, etc.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), at least 40 percent of animals, insects, and plants are at risk of extinction across the world.


Source: Tehran Times