Afghanistan’s Wildlife Surviving in the Midst of War (VIDEO)

Despite some major obstacles — deforestation, habitat degradation and decades without “the rule of law” — wildlife is surviving in the province of Nuristan in eastern Afghanistan, according to the first update since 1977. Large mammals, including Asiatic black bears, gray wolves, markhor goats, and leopard cats are all surviving in the conflict-ridden region. Researchers were even able to make the first documented sighting of the common palm civet in Afghanistan.

Using camera-trap surveys, transect surveys, and DNA identification of scat samples, the researchers studied a mountainous, forested area of 1,100 square kilometers between 2006 and 2009.The study, which is published in the latest journal of Oryx, was conducted by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Notes Science Daily:

WCS has had a full-time presence in Afghanistan since 2006 and continues to be the only conservation NGO operating there. WCS works on community conservation, conservation education, institution building, training, capacity building, and wildlife trade issues.

Kara Stevens, lead author of the study, said: “Afghanistan’s environment — like the Afghan people — has shown incredible resilience in the face of decades of instability. However, future support is necessary to ensure that communities can sustainably manage these resources for generations to come.”

Unfortunately, the US foreign assistance budget faces large cuts this year. USAID has helped the WCS to work in over 55 communities in Afghanistan, trained local residents to “monitor and sustainably manage their wildlife and other resources” and created Band-e-Amir, Afghanistan’s first national park, which the government and a committee made up of all 14 communities living around the park co-manage together.

Most of our images of Afghanistan are of a war-torn country where Western troops are stationed. The Oryx study reminds us that there is much more to Afghanistan, and much worth protecting and preserving.

The video below shows the beauties of Band-e Amir Park.

Related Care2 Coverage

Afghanistan: Should Military Advice Be Secret?

Training Afghan NGOs to Tell Their Stories

Afghanistan Could Crash Economically When the U.S. Leaves


Photo of an Asiatic black bear by Drew Avery

57 comments

KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B.4 years ago

Yes, miracles do happen...

Janine Hofmann
Janine H.4 years ago

It is a sad thing that people don't want peace, that the only thing they are perfect is killing each other.

Hopefully the animals can really recover


Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
(Native American proverb)

Alicia N.
Alicia N.4 years ago

thank you and good luck to them

Retha B.
Retha Benade4 years ago

Miracles do happen!

Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan4 years ago

Don't tell people where they are and then complain that funding is reduced,some sicko will go huntin.

TERRY R.
TERRY R.4 years ago

THANK YOU.

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado4 years ago

Who will protect them?

Bernadette P.
Berny p.4 years ago

Although these animals seem to be surviving, they would most normally be better off if we weren't there in the first place!


Ameer T.
Ameer T.4 years ago

Afghanis made many efforts that were kept out of the main stream media because it would be detrimental to the image that the propaganda machines would have wanted to create. Afghanis had to be portrayed as barbaric, uncivilized animals who were a threat to everything good.

But in reality these people made huge efforts to preserve the artifacts and antiquities sometime back as well when the American invasion began. I dont know if anything survived since America dropped bunker busters weighing 30 tons each as well. The art work was mostly smuggled out to Iran and Pakistan for preservation. (Yes they appreciate art too). and the animals too were moved to safer locations for preservation.

The bombings destroyed most of the farmlands and domesticated animals. So i am guessing the criters that depend on farm leftovers might not have made it. But interesting to know that some uncivilized people are dedicated to saving things while a civilized nation is bent on destroying them.

Rani K.
Rani K.4 years ago

Yes, but they don't say how many more got killed; in times of war, civilians and animals pay a very high price with their lives. War anywhere leaves behind absolute hell for the survivors
even many years after it is over. Someone is painting a rosy picture. Glad these animals are still there though, despite all odds against them.