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Kurdistan: Peshmerga Fighters Release Bears Back in the Wild

Kurdistan: Peshmerga Fighters Release Bears Back in the Wild

Wednesday, 7 March, 2018 - 06:45
Three-month-old bear cubs play together at a wild animal park in Kunming, China. | (REUTERS/Wong Campion)
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters released wild bears in the wild, in the mountains of Gara near the city of Dohuk, Northern Iraq on Sunday, after animal rights activists rescued a group of bears, AFP reported.

The Kurdish-American Friendship Organization concerned in environmental issues in Kurdistan, Iraq, has previously released a group of wild bears in a natural reserve near the borders with Iran. This process aims to bring these bears back to their natural habitat.

The group of six bears, including a cub, was brought back to the region’s mountains this year. This group is the first batch of wild animals the Kurdish-American Friendship Organization plans to release consecutively.

Sources in Kurdistan said that a convoy accompanying the bears, went on a four-hour journey from Erbil to the natural reserve on the slopes of the Kudo Mountains in the far north-east of the province, under the guard of elite Peshmerga forces.

However, the surrounding villages expressed their fear of this number of bears and other predators, since the areas close to the reserve host thousands of vacationers weekly, as well as a lot of fishermen, which may endanger the wildlife.

"We, the villagers in this area have been dealing with wild animals and will not harm them unless they attack our homes, but the presence of such an increasable number of predators will inevitably endanger the lives of vacationers and farmers," says one of the village's residents.

"But the concerned authorities did not consult the region’s residents about releasing these bears near their villages."

Kurdish environmentalists saw that the release of this group of bears in these frontier mountains is an attempt to enable them to reproduce naturally after excessive hunting killed most wild animals in this region.

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