Iraqi politicians have approved plans to create the country’s first ever nature reserve in the area widely recognised to be the setting of the biblical Adam and Eve story.
Located betwixt the region’s two major rivers – the Tigris and Euphrates, the earmarked area is a vast marshland and is home to water buffalo, the Basra reed warbler and the Iraq babbler.
The wetland ecosystem, the largest in the Middle East, was feared to have been destroyed forever after Saddam Hussein dammed the two rivers, in an attempt to expel the local Ma’dan tribes in the early nineties. 93% of the ecosystem was found to be destroyed.
The dams were removed after Saddam’s downfall in 2003, with water restoring the reed beds and wildlife. Conservationists have been stunned to find all of the 278 bird species survived.
Richard Porter of Birdlife international said;
“It shows how resilient nature can be, and gives hope that other lost wetlands can be restored.”
The Mesopotamian marshes will be protected by the Nature Iraq charity with part of its remit being to safeguard the cradle of civilisation. Mesopotamia is believed to be the birthplace of agriculture, the wheel, monotheism and writing.
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