People, Environment

Entry of Vehicles in Miankaleh Restricted

Severe protective measures are required to ensure the safety of both environment and species in the wetland. Severe protective measures are required to ensure the safety of both environment and species in the wetland.

Only a limited number of vehicles will now be allowed to enter Miankaleh Wildlife Sanctuary, according to a statement on the website of the Department of Environment's office in Mazandaran Province.

The scheme will be implemented by law-enforcement officials, border guards and local environmentalists. The statement did not disclose a limit to the number of cars, but stressed that the scheme "will be more strictly enforced on Thursdays and Fridays (the weekend)".

The measure is aimed at stemming the flow of tourists to the popular ecotourism site, whose fragile ecosystem is threatened by a variety of factors, from climate change and declining precipitation to bushfires and littering.

Tourism and environment officials have been working on a plan to turn Miankaleh Wetland into a hub of bird-watching, which requires severe protective measures to ensure the safety of both environment and species.

One of the 613 international biosphere reserves, the wetland in the wildlife sanctuary has been battling desiccation for years due to the Caspian Sea recession, climate change and Iran’s protracted battle with water scarcity. Environment officials say it will be completely restored by 2021 when it achieves ecological balance.

Miankaleh is a narrow and long peninsula situated in the extreme southeastern part of the Caspian Sea. It is spread over 68,800 hectares. The wetland is a wildlife sanctuary and hosts a number of endangered species, particularly aquatic migratory birds who prefer the site for laying eggs.

The peninsula was registered in 1969 as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. In 1979, it was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.

The biosphere reserve's ecological importance is highlighted by the fact that it hosts 250,000 migratory birds, including pelican, flamingo, graylag and white-fronted geese, swan, red-breasted merganser and the white-headed duck, in winters.


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