Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mountain Wildlife in Afghanistan Survive Conflict Zone (Video) *Further protection needed*

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The Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) of Nuristan, Afghanistan
 Listed as Endangered, population trend decreasing, by the IUCN

Spectacular Wildlife in Afghanistan Needs Protection While war comes to mind when Afghanistan is mentioned, the mountain region of Nuristan is the home of spectacular wildlife and magnificent scenery. Joe Walston, Asia Program Director for the Wildlife Conservation Society, is leading an effort to preserve and protect this special ecosystem. Nuristan is unlike other areas of Afghanistan and is "much more like the Italian Alps or the Rocky Mountains in the United States". The Snow Leopard inhabits this region along with the Markhor (Capra falconeri), a large species of wild goat with large corkscrew, spiraling horns. The Markhor is listed as Endangered, population trend decreasing, by the IUCN. The Asian Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus), aka Himalayan Black Bear, Moon Bear, or White-Chested Bear, is indigenous to Nuristan and listed as Vulnerable, population trend decreasing, by the IUCN. Another inhabitant of Nuristan is the familiar Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) and is listed worldwide as Least Concern, population trend stable, by the IUCN.

Wildlife Conservation Society Efforts The WCS reports and surveys are optimistic. Camera traps set in a 1,000 square kilometer area between 2006 and 2009 show the wildlife in Nuristan is surviving despite the ongoing war. Joe Walston of WCS says, "WCS helped the Afghanistan government develop its first national park (Band-e-Amir National Park) not far from Kabul. It's already a tourist site, people are regularly going out." In a time of war, stress, and tension, "people want something that provides an escape from that, but also something that is a point of pride". Walston said, "Band-e-Amir is an example of something that Afghanistan can and should be proud of". 

Animals in Afghanistan Survive Conflict Most people think of Afghanistan as a conflict zone, but it’s also the home of spectacular wildlife in need of protection.

Nuristan is important mountain habitat for wildlife

Wildlife Conservation Society
Saving Wildlife, Saving Wild Places

International Union for Conservation of Nature
Conserving Biodiversity

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