In a parched land, Iraqi gazelles are starving

In just over a month, the population of gazelles with thin horns in the Sava Reserve in southern Iraq decreased from 148 to 87

In just over a month, the population of thin-horned gazelles in the Sava Reserve in southern Iraq has shrunk from 148 to 87.

The gazelles in Iraq’s wildlife sanctuary are starving to death, making them the latest victims in a country where climate change is compounding difficulties after years of war.

In just over a month, the population of gazelles with thin horns in the Sava Reserve in southern Iraq has dropped from 148 to 87.

Lack of funding, along with a shortage of rain, deprives them of food as the country’s drought dries up lakes and leads to decline. harvest.

President Barham Saleh warned climate change “It must be a national priority for Iraq, as it is existential threat to the future of our future generations. “

Elegant animals, also known as Rome gazelles, are recognizable by gently curved horns and fur in a sandy color. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies animals as endangered in its Red List.

Outside of Iraq’s reserves, they are found mainly in the deserts of Libya, Egypt and Algeria, but are unlikely to number “more than a few hundred” there, according to the Red List.

Turki al Jayashi, director of the Sava Reserve, said the number of gazelles there had fallen by about 40 per cent in just one month by the end of May.

“They no longer have food because we have not received the necessary funds,” which had come from the government, Jayashi said.

Outside of Iraq's reserves, gazelles are found mostly in the deserts of Libya, Egypt and Algeria, but are unlikely to count 'months.

Outside Iraq’s reserves, gazelles are found mostly in the deserts of Libya, Egypt and Algeria, but are unlikely to number “more than a few hundred” there, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

Iraq’s finances are under pressure after decades of war in a poor country in need of modernization of agricultural and other infrastructure.

Fight corruption, a financial crisis and the political stalemate that left Iraq without a new government months after the October election.

“The climate has also greatly affected the gazelles, which lack fodder in the desert-like area,” Jayashi added.

Barren soil

In three other Iraqi reserves further north, the number of gazelles from Rome has dropped by 25 percent in the last three years to 224 animals, according to an agriculture ministry official, who asked not to be named.

He blamed a drop in reserves at al-Madain near Baghdad and in Diyala and Kirkuk for “lack of public funding”.

In the Sava Reserve, established in 2007 near the southern city of Samava, animals suffocate under the scorching sun.

Turki al Jayashi, director of the Sava Wildlife Reserve, is adding nutritional supplements to the water trough.  He says there is a lack of funds

Turki al Jayashi, director of the Sava Wildlife Reserve, is adding nutritional supplements to the water trough. He says the lack of funding and the harsh climate have hurt gazelles.

The brown and barren land is irretrievably dry, and the meager shrubs that offer light food are dry and tough.

Some gazelles, including young people still without horns, bite hay spread out on the flat ground.

Others take shelter under a metal roof, drinking water from a trough.

Summer has not even begun, but temperatures have already reached 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in parts of the country.

The effects of the drought are compounded by dramatic declines in the level of some rivers due to upstream dams and tributaries in Turkey and Iran.

Desertification affects 39 percent of Iraqi land, the president warned.

“Water scarcity is affecting all our regions. This will reduce the fertility of our agricultural lands due to salinization, “Saleh said.

He sent 100 million dinars (over $ 68,000) in an attempt to help save Rome gazelles in the Sava Reserve, Jayashi said.

Desertification affects 39 percent of Iraqi land, the president warned

Desertification affects 39 percent of Iraqi land, the president warned.

But the money came too late for some.

Five more had just died, their corpses lying together on the brown ground.


Iraq swept away the tenth sandstorm in weeks


© 2022 AFP

Quote: In a parched land, Iraqi gazelles are dying of starvation (2022, June 18), extracted on June 18, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-parched-iraqi-gazelles-dying-hunger. html

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