There are approximately 74 Important Bird Areas in Iraq and of the 412 bird species which have been recorded here, 19 are globally threatened. Iraq is also considered the fifth most vulnerable state to climate change globally. This will affect bird habitats as the weather patterns change but it must be noted that human activities such as illegal hunting, deforestation, trading and pollution add further stress. click here to see the article on lifeneophron
Four vulture species have been observed in Iraq. These are the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), the Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), the Eurasian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), and the Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus). The IUCN Red List, states all of these apart from the Griffon Vulture as globally endangered (EN).
The Egyptian Vulture are both breeding summer visitor and passage migrants in Iraq, with significant numbers of breeding pairs in the mountains of Kurdistan Region. Based on a study by Nature Iraq and Birdlife International, over 330,000 birds are killed annually by poaching in Iraq.
An additional threat that faces charismatic species, such as the Egyptian Vulture, is chick collection and trading. Threatened bird species, including the Egyptian Vulture, have been observed in the markets and in some cases on public display in cages.
Nature Iraq joined the Egyptian Vulture New LIFE project in spring 2022 with the specific aim to combat illegal killing and poaching of Egyptian Vultures in Iraq. The work will also focus on raising awareness of the species and its threats and engage with decision makers and stakeholders in order to implement and enforce the environmental and conservation laws and regulations to mitigate the pressure on the wildlife and the Egyptian Vulture in particular. We will also design road map to produce the Egyptian Vulture conservation action plan in collaboration with local and international experts.
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