Water stress is pushing reptiles and amphibians to extinction

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TEHRAN – Drought, reduced rainfall and fluctuating rainfall have endangered the lives of living organisms, especially reptiles and amphibians which are vulnerable to water and temperature changes.

Many water resources in Iran are under pressure and amphibians that spend part of their life cycle in water are in danger, which has been mainly caused by water shortages in wetlands and lakes, Reza Faraji, head of the wildlife conservation office of the Ministry of Environment, mentioned.

Referring to other challenges for the life of reptiles and amphibians, Faraji said habitat destruction, water contamination, influx of sewage and poisoning are other factors. threatening the life of these species.

Lamenting that it is not possible to say exactly which species are in danger of extinction, he said that the marsh crocodile is one of the endangered species due to its limited distribution area and low population and lives in drought-stricken provinces.

In addition, the Euphrates softshell turtle is in serious danger of extinction, he noted, regretting that Vipera ursiniiis is also threatened by illegal hunting and habitat destruction.

Referring to DOE plans for habitat and species protection, he said spider-tailed horned vipers, for example, were listed as endangered three years ago. and annexed to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

CITES is an agreement between governments that regulates international trade in wildlife and wildlife products. It came into force in 1975 with the aim of ensuring that international trade does not threaten the survival of wild plants and animals.

It is the duty of Member States to prevent trade in plants and animals of this species. Endangered species are listed on a list and at levels one, two and three depending on threat levels. Any trade in level one species is strictly prohibited and governments are only permitted to conduct research on these species. At levels two and three, the sensitivities decrease slightly, ISNA reported on Saturday.

The Luristan newt, the world’s most attractive salamander confined to western Iran, has been on the brink of extinction due to habitat degradation as well as the uncontrolled haunting of domestic and international trade in pets which accelerated near the Iranian New Year celebration, he also lamented.

Thus, we listed the species on CITES to stop its international trade, and its domestic trade was controlled with the help of the DOE and reached almost zero. Also, the sources and habitats of these species have been restored, Faraji further pointed out.

According to Article 50 of the Constitution, the protection of the environment is a public duty. All executive bodies must work with the DOE to help preserve endangered species through conservation and management programs.

Importance of environmental protection

There are 1,300 species of animals in the country, 130 of which are endangered and threatened, Hassan Akbari, deputy head of natural environment and biodiversity at the environment ministry, said in December 2021.

More than 10,000 environmental offenders are arrested on average each year. Asiatic cheetahs, great bustards, Siberian cranes, Persian onagers and some reptiles and amphibians are among the endangered and threatened species, he said.

Smuggling and habitat destruction are the main threats to the species, and promoting a culture of environmental care and building social participation is one of the most important and most important strategies. effective in protecting the environment, he explained.

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

To preserve the existing biodiversity across the vast geographical expanse of Iran, four types of areas have been designated for preservation and protection, including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, protected areas, and national natural monuments. In 1997, the DOE supervised 7,563,983 hectares of these areas.

Currently, the monitored areas reach approximately 18.5 million hectares, including 30 national parks, 170 protected areas, 45 wildlife refuges and 37 national natural monuments.

Iran has a high species diversity due to geographical conditions, climatic diversity, huge water resources from the Caspian Sea in the north and the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea in the south.

According to the latest studies, about 1,300 species of vertebrates including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and aquatic fishes, about 30,000 species of invertebrates and 8,000 species of plants have been identified in the country.

Unfortunately, over the past two decades, human activities have led to an alarming degradation of ecosystems, the suppression of genes, species and biological capacities; Human threats to biodiversity have accelerated the most over the past 50 years in the entire history of human life.

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