- FLAMINGO BUSINESS -

Iraq, 2020

The « Ahwar » are archeological sites with a biodiversity classified as World Heritage by the UNESCO. An important flamingo traffic supports poachers, carvers and merchants in this region where unemployment rate reaches 25% of the population. From November to March, during cold temperatures in Iraq, flamingos migrate in the

Iraqi and Iranian marshes rich in aquatic invertebrate, larvas and eggs.

During this season, poachers capture dead or alive flamingos thanks to large nets and traps. Some of the birds are secretly sold to rich Iraqis or Arabs from the Gulf region and used as domesticated pets to sublime a fountain or a garden. Others are killed and sold for their brain and meat that Iraqis from the marshes are used to eat.

Flamingos are a protected species in Iraq, but the repression is almost inexistant and the police is too afraid to face the armed poachers familiar to the wetlands.

 

«They’re heavily armed, can set up ambushes, and know the marshes better than us, sometimes going as far as threatening our families », relates an environmental activist.

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