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Qatar to build a conservation area for ‘rare birds’ in Iraq’s Kurdistan 

December 12, 2023 at 2:06 pm

A view of an ostrich is seen at bird market in Erbil, Iraq on September 30, 2022 [Ahsan Mohammed Ahmed Ahmed/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

Qatar is planning to build a designated area in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region as part of a conservation initiative for rare migratory birds that pass through the region, according to a report by local news outlet Kurdistan24.

The report noted that Qatari Consul General to Erbil, Hussain Bin Ali Al-Fadala, met with the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Board of Investment, Mohammad Shukri, yesterday in the Iraqi-Kurdish capital to discuss the plan.

A statement by the board said that the special area will be used as a conservation site for the rare birds in Erbil Plains, including Kandenawa and Shamamik Plains.

Qatar has emerged as a major “stop-over” site for the migratory birds, as reported by the Peninsula in October. The country serves as a habitat for more than 300 bird species. Notable among the migratory birds that make a stop in the Gulf state during their journey are the European turtle dove, Eurasian hobby, greater flamingo, greylag goose, Caspian gull, Eurasian stone-curlew, and long-legged buzzard, among others.

Currently, Mount Peramagroon in the Sulaimani province has been designated as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA), as such it is a site deemed to be globally important for the conservation of bird populations, based on an internationally agreed set of criteria. Overall Iraq, which is home to 412 bird species, including 19 globally threatened ones, has 74 IBAs.

Despite these efforts and strict laws, Iraq’s bird population faces numerous challenges, including illegal hunting, deforestation, trafficking, and the impact of climate change on natural habitats, according to the Egyptian Vulture Conservation Project in Iraq.

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