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Afghanistan releases its first-ever list of protected species
Date:6/4/2009

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In Afghanistan, species like the snow leopard are under pressure from excessive hunting, loss of key habitat and illegal trade. Snow leopard pelts for sale in tourist shops can go for as much as $1,500 each. International trade in species like the snow leopard is illegal under international law because it is globally endangered. Now that the snow leopard is protected under Afghan law, it is also illegal for Afghan nationals or internationals to hunt or trade the species within Afghanistan.

The protected species list also comes at a critical time for Afghanistan's wild species. The Presidential Decree banning hunting in the country expired in March 2009. Only one week ago, it would have been legal for any person to kill an endangered species like the snow leopard in Afghanistan.

NEPA has also worked collaboratively with students at the University of Richmond in Virginia, USA to complete the listing process. In the spring semester of 2009, students conducted research on Afghan species for AWEC and participated electronically in an evaluation session to answer questions for the Committee. Six species assessed by students are now listed as protected in Afghanistan.

NEPA will be responsible for managing Afghanistan's protected species including writing recovery plans for species designated as threatened. Species will be re-evaluated every five years to determine whether populations have recovered to the extent where they may be removed from the protected list.

NEPA gratefully acknowledges the assistance it has received from the international community including the USAID funded program of the Wildlife Conservation Society, and looks forward to its continued partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock and Kabul University in managing Afghanistan's threatened and endangered species.

Last month, Afghanistan announced the creation of its first national park: Band-e-Amir, a spec
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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert

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