Impact of Forest Degradation on Breeding Birds of the Talysh Mountains in the Azerbaijan Republic
Deciduous broadleaf forests of the northern hemisphere are one of the most threatened ecosystems on the earth. They occur in three major disjunct regions (western Eurasia, eastern Asia and eastern North America). Globally, the Hyrcanian forest is one of the most important deciduous broadleaf forests, due to its remarkably biodiversity, primeval conditions and large extension. It stretches in a large arc along the Alborz Mountains in northern Iran and reaches Azerbaijan in its southernmost part. The Hyrcanian forest in Azerbaijan suffers a rapid degradation since 1991 due to intense forestry. Currently, only 17% of the Hyrcanian forest in Azerbaijan is treated as pristine forest, whereas 44% shows heavy degradation.
Action needed to protect the rare Sistan Scrub Sparrow and its habitat
Creation of water reservoirs contributing to population increase of Spur-winged Lapwing in Cyprus
The Spur-winged Lapwing, an Afro-tropical bird occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt, southeast Europe and the Middle East, was first recorded in Cyprus in 1820. Up until the 1990s it was a common migrant, with few overwintering and one breeding record. While recent data indicated it had become a regular winter visitor and breeding bird, no island-wide assessment of the distribution and population size of this species had ever been carried out despite the relatively small size of Cyprus (9,250 km2 in area). Bearing in mind that it is one of the defining species for the designation of wetland areas within the Natura-2000 protected areas network of the European Union (EU), and is included in the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds, information on its status is relevant for nature conservation in Cyprus, the EU, and the Middle East region in general.
Endangered Purple Gallinule in Anzali wetland, Iran
Negin Nourani Najafi
Purple Gallinule Porphyrio porphyrio is a resident waterbird and seasonal breeder in Iran. Its habitats are wetlands with vast reedbeds and the verge of lakes with thick vegetation. There are two subspecies of Purple Gallinules in Iran. One is the P. p. seistanicus extending to the south and the east of Iran and another subspecies is P. p. caspius extending to northwest Iran. In recent years, due to destruction of reedbeds of their habitats and hunting, their population is extremely reduced. Therefore, we studied breeding biology and ecology of Purple Gallinule in the central part of the Anzali wetland during breeding seasons of 2011 and 2012. The Anzali wetland, at South West coast of the Caspian Sea is one of main wintering and breeding sites of Purple Gallinule with extremely limited population.
Migratory vulture’s crisis continues in Bikaner, Rajasthan, India
Population of three Gyps vultures in South Asia decreased by about 95% in 1990s. A major contributing factor in declining populations of vultures is believed to be the widespread use of drugs such as Diclofenac, once commonly-used as a livestock anti-inflammatory drug. Use of Diclofenac is now banned in India. During the last 3 years, vulture’s death cases are increasing not only in Rajasthan but also in other parts of the India. The IUCN Red Data Book has listed this bird as ‘critically endangered’.
This Halloween: Bats Beware
Contrary to creepy Halloween images of witches, ghosts and ghouls, one of the traditional icons of the season -- the bat -- deserves to be a star. For centuries, Chinese cultures regarded bats as the harbinger of good fortune and health, and in Chinese art a depiction of five bats is called "Five blessings," long life, ease, wealth, joy and a natural death. We may lose these blessings soon because bats are disappearing at an alarming rate. They are persecuted, hunted for food and medicine by the hundreds of thousands, and their habitats are being destroyed. To make matters worse, a new disease named white nose syndrome, possibly introduced from Europe, has killed millions of bats in the U.S., wiped out entire colonies in the east and has now spread from New England to Canada and across the Mississippi.