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Virgin environment and high tourism capacity in Sistan & Baluchestan

Sistan & Baluchestan, Iran’s largest province spanning over 1,100 square kilometers, has created a great capacity of tourism by its virgin environment with various species of animals and plants, as well as mountains, deserts, and the sea.

The environment of Sistan & Baluchestan Province in southeast Iran has wonderful beauties that have always attracted large numbers of tourists.

Tide-dominated coasts, mangrove forests, and habitats in the sea, mountains, rocks, and deserts in this province have made a good environment for various species of birds.

The following are environmental phenomena peculiar to Sistan and Baluchestan Province.

A child of Hirman River and Hamun Lake, Sistan & Baluchestan’s nature and human life changed after the draught began in 1999 and shrank the province's 65,000 acres of wheat farms to 4,000 acres five years later and wiped out what was once called a ‘granary’.

Hamun dried out and forced thousands of villagers to move to cities, changing the ecosystem of the province; however, most people didn't emigrate to other provinces and stood to overcome difficulties.

Locally called ‘Lavar Wind’ literally meaning hot and dry, the 120-day wind is a strong summer wind occurring from late May to late September in the east and southeast of the Iranian Plateau with a maximum speed of 100 kph.

The wind starts smoothly in the morning and speeds up by noon. In the afternoon it calms down and turns into a breeze by night.

Located in the north of Sistan & Baluchestan Province, Hamun is the third largest lake in Iran. It consists of three smaller lakes called Hamun Pouzak, Hamun Saburi, and Hamun Hirmand which merge into one lake during periods that water supplies are sufficient.

The wetland is basically fed up by the Hirmand River originating in Afghanistan, but several other seasonal rivers, including Khashrood, Farahrood, Harutrood, Shourrood, Hosseinababd, and Nehbandan pour into the wetland.

Drought and cutting up of Hirmand River flow have led the wetland to dry out during the last two decades and has wiped out the wild habitats around it and forced local people to emigrate.

Seasonal and periodical flow from Afghanistan brought temporary life to the wetland in short periods, but after the Afghanistan government constructed Kamal Khan Damn to control these flows, the wetland has faced the danger of total annihilation.

Several species of birds flying over the wetland in the middle of their migration spend their breeding period in this wetland, creating picturesque landscapes in Hamun.

Jaz Murian Wetland is one of the most distinguished capacities of Sistan & Baluchestan Province which has dried out due to cutting its water right, leading to several difficulties for the people living near the wetland.

The drainage basin of Jaz Murian spans an area of 70,000 square kilometers which has been located almost equally between Sistan & Baluchestan and Kerman provinces.

This potential significant source of freshwater has turned into a source of haze due to continuous drought. Constructing 36 damns over the rivers feeding the wetland has deteriorated the situation and would cause irreparable damage if remains unsolved.

Existing evidence of Sisatn & Baluchestan’s living from ancient times until today, Gandos have a special, sometimes sanctified, position among indigenous people of the province.

Gando is a threatened species categorized into vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Scientifically name Crocodylus Palustris, the reptiles live in habitats in south Sistan & Baluchestan. The latest statistics show that only 200 Gandos live in these areas. There are 4,200 heads of this species that live around the world.

A subspecies of the Asian black bear, the Baluchestan black bear has a medium height ranging from 130 cm to 180 cm. Unlike its cousins, the Baluchestan black bear doesn’t hibernate.

Although broadly dispersed, over 30 percent of the Persian leopard population lives in northeast Iran. However, a significant number of them live in areas around Nikshahr, Iranshahr, Sarbaz, and Konarak in south Sistan & Baluchestan.

Over 20 locations in south Sistan & Baluchestan on the coasts of the Gulf of Oman have been populated by sea turtles for egging. Many of these animals spend their mating and egging period on the shores of the Gulf of Oman.

Global warming, haze and dust, and water shortage are the most important factors threatening biodiversity and the lives of animals in Sistan & Baluchestan.

Besides, such problems and non-standard traditional brick factories and exploitation of mazut have caused the emission of vast number of toxic gases, deteriorating conditions for both human and animal life.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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