January 14, 2021 | healthcare

Duhok environmentalists build shelters for wildlife as winter deepens


DUHOK, Kurdistan Region — A group of Duhok environmental and animal rights activists on Monday began building shelters for animals and birds ten kilometres north of the provincial capital.

Taking place in a forest close to the town of Zawita, the project aims to provide local wildlife with cover and food for the cold winter season.

“We, as an environmental protection group, have come here to hang up nests for baby birds. We are volunteers. We consider it everyone’s responsibility,” environmental activist Nura Khalid told Rudaw on Monday.

Nechirvan Abdulkhaliq, head of the Zhin Environmental Group, said they started the project “to tell people that, instead of hunting these wild animals, you can help them.”

Duhok’s environmental department has provided feed for the birds, which are put in the shelters. They plan to put feed in them every week.

“Building these nests will help save the area’s birds. We know that birds have specific importance in the environment of the area. It’s important that they be protected,” Dilshad Abdulrahman, Director of Duhok Environment Department, told Rudaw on Monday.

However, environmental scientist Korsh Ararat says such projects are not necessarily needed for the survival of birds.

“Birds don’t need such shelters because they have their own nests and shelters,” said the wildlife expert based out of the University of Sulaimani. 'Putting nesting boxes in trees in an area needs to be studied based on the species of the birds and the environmental situation of the area.'

“In terms of feed, the birds have their own ways to get food, bread and dough are generally not good for wild birds,” Ararat added, noting however that such projects were good for raising public awareness.

There are more than 300 bird species in the Kurdistan Region, according to figures from the Kurdistan Organization for Animal Rights Protection (KOARP).

However, at least ten are under threat of extinction due to a number of factors, including environmental destruction by human beings, hunting and climate change, according to Ararat.

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