People, Environment

Luristan Newt Habitat Protection on Track

Luristan Newt Habitat Protection on TrackLuristan Newt Habitat Protection on Track

A portion of the Luristan newt’s habitat in Lorestan Province has been recognized as a wildlife refuge, according to Mehrdad Fat’hi Beyranvand, the director of the provincial office of the Department of Environment.

“The High Council of Environmental Conservation will review the case to declare the entire 23,000-hectare region as a refuge, which will then be managed by the DOE,” he told ISNA.

The DOE briefed law enforcement and railway officials in Lorestan last year in an effort to curb illegal trade of the colorful animal and save the species from extinction. According to Beyranvand, not a single case of illegal trade of the salamander was reported in the past 12 months.

“Public awareness regarding the value of this rare salamander species has increased in the province,” he said.

The Luristan newt, also called ‘emperor spotted newt’ is a critically endangered salamander according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is a small species, reaching only 13 cm in length.

It is threatened by habitat loss, recent severe droughts, poaching, and the damming of the few inhabited streams. While this species is protected by Iranian law, however immediate action is needed to prevent the illegal export of this attractive newt.