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Wildlife surviving in Afghanistan by braving years of conflict: WCS Study

New York, Tue, 28 Jun 2011 ANI

New York, June 28(ANI): A new survey conducted by scientists of Wildlife Conservation Society scientists and supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has revealed that large mammals, including Asiatic black bears, gray wolves, markhor goats, and leopard cats are surviving in parts of Afghanistan despite braving years of conflict.


The field team used camera-trap surveys, transect surveys, and DNA identification of scat samples in the first wildlife update conducted between 2006 and 2009 in the conflict-plagued eastern province of Nuristan.


The results indicated that wildlife continues to survive in Afghanistan despite deforestation, habitat degradation, and decades with the absence of rule of law.


"The surveys confirm the presence of globally important species in the area, despite indications of habitat loss and uncontrolled hunting. This highlights the need for targeted conservation programs to protect forest resources - including wildlife - that provide livelihoods for people. Sustainable natural resource management, including teaching new skills and building governance structures in local communities, can help stabilize the region, which has the effect of improving U.S. national security." WCS President and CEO said.


Kara Stevens, lead author of the study, said: "Afghanistan's environment, like the Afghan people has shown incredible resilience in the face of decades of instability. However, future support is necessary to ensure that communities can sustainably manage these resources for generations to come."


The authors of the study noted that opportunities for implementing wildlife conservation measures in Afghanistan are limited due to security challenges.


While the remote Nuristan province provides some protection for wildlife, lack of 30 effective management practices to limit unregulated logging and hunting for 30 years have placed forests and wildlife are very much at risk. (ANI)


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