Mines Threaten Khuzestan Wildlife

There have been no reports of gazelle casualties in mine blasts so far. There have been no reports of gazelle casualties in mine blasts so far.

Landmines left from the eight-year Iraq-imposed war pose a serious threat to wildlife in Mishdagh and Fakkeh protected areas in Khuzestan Province, especially goitered gazelles.

“During the war, the Iraqi Army extensively laid landmines in these areas. Since the end of the war, thanks to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Army and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, many parts of these areas have been cleared but significant areas are still contaminated, especially Fakkeh area,” Ahmad Reza Lahijanzadeh, the head of the provincial office of the Department of Environment, said.

“So far, fortunately, there has been no report of gazelle casualties due to landmine explosion. However, we are concerned not only about the threats facing the wildlife as well as park rangers patrolling the area,” he also told IRIB News.

Among the 10 protected areas in Khuzestan, only Mishdagh and Fakkeh are still littered with landmines.

Classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, goitered gazelles (aka Persian gazelles) have been declining significantly in their global habitats in recent decades.

In Iran, these threatened species are absent from most of their natural habitats and almost entirely restricted to protected areas in the country.

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