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Environmental Disaster in Parishan Wetland in Iran


Report by Javad Heidarian, photos by Mohsen Abbaspour, Mehr News Agency

Thousands of turtles and migratory birds burn in fire in Parishan wetland in Iran

During last month, thousands of turtles, migratory birds, snakes and other animals have burned tragically in fires around Parishan wetland in Iran. The fires had been set to clear the reeds in the area for road building. According to Mehr reporter, setting these fires in the last two months has caused an environmental disaster resulting in death of the native turtles, migratory birds and other animals that lived around Parishan lake.

Parishan is located close to the town of Kazeroun in the Fars province of Iran.

The helpless turtles that burned in the fires

According to the report,  in the past twelve months close to 30 acres of the bamboo filled areas around the lake have been consumed in fires set systematically and deliberately by those who responsible for the destruction of the Parishan wetland. Around 20 acres were destroyed in the deadly fires within the past year, while over 8 acres were burned in the last 1.5 months.

The bones of a bird burned in the fire...perhaps it was sleeping in its nest!

It should be noted that the distance from the villages around Parishan wetland to the city of Zanjan is about 4.5 kilometers, and around 2 Kilometer of the distance from the mountain to the lake. However, the villagers and the authorities have declared this distance as 800 meters in order to downplay the significance of this destruction.

Fars is one of the 30 provinces of Iran. It is in the south of the country and its center is Shiraz. It has an area of 122,400 km square. In 1996, this province had a population of 3.8 million people, of which 56.7% were registered as urban dwellers, 41.0% villagers, and 1.4% nomad tribes.


Parishan Lake (source google earth)


A burned snake... no way to escape the deadly fires

A burned turtle

This painful disaster happened as a result of some local officials in the town of Kazeroun pushing for approval of the road and getting the villagers to sign a 20-metter petition in its support. Ironically these same officials had previously indicated their concerns for Parishan wetland.

Dead turtles

The environmental protection agency has been ordered by the Justice Department to investigate the destruction of Parishan wetland and identfy those responsible for this destruction. However, the agency has so far failed to do anything in this regard. In fact, the head of the agency in Pishtar has told Mehr he is unaware about the order of the Justice Department.

Bones of a burned bird

The Justice Department office in Kazeroun has confirmed that the quiet destruction of Parishan is still continuing. The head of the Justice Department told Mehr that they have repeatedly reminded the Environmental Protection Agency, the Agricultural Jihad and the Water Department to prevent the farmers from draining the lake and to report the offenders. However, they have failed to comply with the orders and the destruction of Parishan hasn't stopped.

The burned reeds field around Parishan wetland...
turtles, birds, snakes,... are all silent now

Related Web Sites:

BirdLife IBA Factsheet: Dasht-e Arjan and Lake Parishan - BirdLife International
Lake Parishan, fed by permanent springs and seasonal watercourses, lies in an enclosed drainage basin in a broad valley and is brackish to saline, the salinity varying widely with the size of the lake. At maximum extent (c.4,000 ha), the lake is almost fresh. During the early 1970s, water levels were low, the lake was brackish to saline, marsh vegetation was confined to the western and eastern ends near freshwater inflow, and there were large areas of bare saltflats in the south-west bay. In recent years, however, water has remained high and is now almost fresh, and there is very extensive Phragmites and Typha in many parts. Salt-tolerant vegetation (principally Chenopodiaceae) is predominant around the lake and large areas of grassland are now under wheat. There is some reed-cutting at both wetlands, and the Department of the Environment plans to establish a Guest House and Visitor Centre overlooking Lake Parishan. Land ownership is public.
Source: BirdLife International 2008 BirdLife's online World Bird Database: the site for bird conservation.

Arjan & Parishan  Biosphere Reserve  & International Wetland (Persian)
Earth Watchers Service

شمارش معکوس برای نابودی تالاب بین المللی پریشان به بهانه ایجاد راه روستایی جدید
Kazerou News, Iran

Iranian Wetlands Conservation Project - Lake Urmia and Lake Parishan

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