Monday, November 29, 2010

Birds vanishing from parts of Afghanistan?

McClatchy Newspapers' own Kansas City Star published this item on its website, written by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Warren has seen a lot of birds for sale in the Kabul market, including cages full of the Chukar partridge, which has of course been introduced into North America.

Here's the item (Herat is in western Afghanistan, bordering Iran):

Rahimullah stood in his field, killing field mice one by one as they were driven from their holes by a rush of irrigation water. But the 55-year-old farmer understands that he’s fighting a losing battle against the scrambling rodents. And he knows that he stands even less of a chance of successfully combating the swarm of locusts that are destroying his crops.

He’s tried using chemical sprays and insecticides, but to little effect. What he’s lacking are the various species of birds that have long been the Afghan farmers’ natural ally in the battle to protect his crop.

Birds are disappearing from Afghanistan, either killed by hunters or caught by trappers who then sell them to the burgeoning international market.

Agriculture officials in Herat province confirm that hunting and smuggling have decimated the bird population in the province, allowing pests like mice and locust to run wild.

There are no accurate statistics on wildlife numbers in Herat province. But officials say that a dozen bird species are in danger. Hunting bans are virtually impossible to enforce. Meanwhile, the booming business in exporting birds has had a devastating impact.

1 comment:

Kathie Brown said...

This is not just sad, it is tragic!