Migratory Bird Massacre in Khuzestan Province

Migratory bird trade has become a common practice in southern wetlands
Protected and vulnerable species are found among the traded birds.
Protected and vulnerable species are found among the traded birds.

While media attention was focused on the massive poaching of migratory birds in northern Iran, the illegal practice appears to have spread in southern wetlands.

Each year, with the start of the bird migration season, concerns arise over the illegal hunting of these animals in northern wetlands, while bird massacre in southern areas is neglected, Mehr News Agency reported.

According to Reza Nik-Falak, an environment expert and activist, poachers have been killing migratory birds in Khuzestan Province for the past two months and every day, hundreds of carcasses are sold at Kian Market in Ahvaz, which is located a short distance from the office of the Department of Environment.

“Protected birds and those at risk of extinction such as marbled duck, ferruginous duck and common pochard are also found among those killed,” he said.

The bird market in Ahvaz has opened up since late August and the trade peaks in autumn, as climates are more favorable for attracting migratory birds in Khuzestan’s wetlands.

“Although the practice has been going on for two months, no action has been taken by DOE officials so far,” Nik-Falak said, adding that the neglect has led to the erection of more traps to catch birds this year.

Reportedly, none of the wetlands in the province has active park ranger stations. Nik-Falak noted that bird killing had noticeably declined last year following attempts by DOE’s protection unit to demolish these traps. He called on the office to implement these protective measures again to prevent a wildlife disaster.

The news has come at a time when DOE’s Hunting and Fishing Office has strictly prohibited the hunting of wild migratory birds across the entire country over the high risks of the outbreak of avian influenza linked to migratory birds. 

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