People, Travel

Endangered 'Luristan Newt' to See More Protection

Endangered 'Luristan Newt' to See More Protection   Endangered 'Luristan Newt' to See More Protection

Crackdown on the illegal capture of the rare salamander known as Luristan newt will be intensified before and during Nowruz holidays (Persian New Year beginning March 21). Head of Lorestan Province Department of Environment said the heightened measures are to prevent the illegal capture and trade of the rare salamander by opportunists and unscrupulous tradesmen which becomes especially rampant before the start of the New Year.

Mehrdad Fathi said the population of the salamander has sharply reduced in recent years due to the severe drought and illegal wildlife trade, Khabaronline reported.  

''The species are on the red list of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and also protected by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which has imposed an all-out ban on their trade'', Fathi said. He added the illegal trade of the species has drawn national and international attention to the fate of the colorful salamanders endemic to Lorestan Province in western Iran.

Fathi said his office had to take drastic measures to protect Luristan newt from illegal trade due to their mountainous habitats. He said the species are sometimes spotted in pet markets up for sale along with goldfish - which is a staple for the New Year's Haft Seen table.

Fathi asked citizens to call the 24 hour hotline 1540 to report any illegal capture or trade of the animal.

The Luristan Newt, also called 'emperor spotted newt' is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is a small species, reaching only 13 cm in length, and is endemic to the Luristan Province of Iran. It is threatened by habitat loss, recent severe droughts, poaching, and the damming of the few inhabited streams. This species is protected by Iranian national legislation, but immediate action is needed to prevent the illegal export of this attractive newt.