Wildlife Roads

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TEHRAN – About 50% of wildlife deaths and 52% of Asiatic cheetah deaths are caused by road accidents, an expert from the Ministry of Environment has said.

A total of 38 Asian cheetah deaths have been recorded, 19 of which were due to road accidents, and eight of them were related to the Abbas-Abad road, ISNA quoted Marzieh Mousavi as saying on Monday.

Six cases occurred on the Yazd-Kerman road. There was one case on Bafq-Bahabad road, one case on Senkhast-Jajaam road, one case in Kerman province and one case on Naybandan road, she explained.

Turan National Park is an important breeding area and habitat for cheetahs, so most of the casualties were linked to this road. Years ago, road accidents killed the species on the Kalmand-Bahadran road, but due to the non-existence of cheetahs in the area, no deaths are now recorded.

According to this report, 52% of cheetah deaths are linked to road accidents, and traffic accidents are the cause of half of all wildlife deaths.

It can be said that the roads are a potential threat to wildlife and if the situation continues like this and the Ministry of Transport and Urbanism expands the road network without environmental assessment, the victims will increase and many species will be lost, a- she lamented.

Referring to the leopard species which has a mountain habitat, she said that this species is less prone to road accidents, however, 25% of leopard deaths were related to road accidents.

She considers carnivorous species to be more vulnerable to road accidents and adds that they are more damaged than herbivores due to movement between habitats to find prey.

All eight species of cats in Iran, such as Pallas cat, jungle cat, wild cat, etc. are damaged by roads. Even the sand cat, which has a desert habitat and is not exposed to roads, is also prone to traffic accidents, she said.

DOE Actions to Reduce Wildlife Casualties on Roads

Whenever possible, the DOE opposes the construction of new roads, especially those that pass through protected areas, and consults with relevant institutions such as the Department of Roads and Urban Development, Mousavi noted.

In addition, he identified road casualty hotspots and urged relevant departments in each province to secure the road for wildlife passage.

At present, the small signs do not have the required efficiency, while according to the written instructions, the signs should be prepared according to international standards and be visible, and the installation of speed control cameras and road safety should be implemented based on these standardized protocols. , she said.

In this regard, the Ministry of Roads should also provide assistance and credit for this issue, and before constructing the road, it should consider environmental considerations and take necessary measures where overpasses or underpasses are required.

It is not expected that such measures will be taken for all roads but currently even on Abbas Abad road which is the habitat of cheetahs and endangered species we have failed to construct an overpass or underpass and secure the road for animal passage. , she says.

In many cases, we try to conduct environmental assessments and considerations, but sometimes that does not happen, and once the work is completed, the newly constructed road will not change and change, she lamented. .

Persian endangered species

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

According to the latest studies, about 1,300 species of vertebrates including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and aquatic fish, 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 the alarming degradation of ecosystems and 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.

Of 1,300 animal species in the country, 130 of which are endangered and threatened, Hassan Akbari, deputy head of natural environment and biodiversity at the Ministry of Environment, said in December 2021.

According to the IUCN, at least 40% of animals, insects and plants are threatened with extinction in the world.

Currently, more than 41% of amphibians, 26% of mammals, 21% of reptiles and 13% of birds are threatened. According to the latest statistics, the number of endangered species in the country is 75 species of vertebrates (18 species of mammals, 29 species of birds, 4 species of amphibians and 16 species of reptiles) on the red list of the IUCN.

Ways to prevent poaching, habitat destruction

Kheirollah Moradi, head of the environment department of Kordestan province, said that by implementing long-term training programs, people’s misconceptions about wildlife must be changed in order to take effective measures to preserve biodiversity and wildlife.

The habitats and wildlife in most parts of the world are in poor condition, and when it comes to the habitats and wildlife of the country, we must boldly say that a large population of different wildlife species is in decline and even endangered,” he said.

Reducing the number of animal species will reduce their genetic diversity, which will greatly reduce the resistance of wildlife to diseases and natural and man-made phenomena, he stressed.

The best way to reduce the threat to wildlife is to protect natural habitats, which are the most important measures to continuously educate local communities and improve the economic situation of locals by generating alternative income to prevent poaching and destruction. habitat, he suggested.

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