A festival in Iraq’s marshes

Published on 03 June 2013 in News and comment

This spring, just as the first Basra Reed Warblers were arriving, I had the privilege of spending time in the vast wetlands of Mesopotamia with my colleagues in Nature Iraq. We were able to survey large areas of the Central Marshes and Hammar Marsh as well as the more remote wetlands at Dalmaj. All these wildlife paradises will be chronicled soon in Nature Iraq’s Key Biodiversity Areas of Iraq along with over 100 sites that NI has systematically surveyed over the past eight years.
Basra Reed Warbler and young, in Iraqi marshes. Pic by Mudhafar Salim/Nature-Iraq

Basra Reed Warbler and young, in Iraqi marshes. Pic by Mudhafar Salim/Nature-Iraq

However, the highlight of my visit was taking part in a festival to celebrate the restoration of the Iraq Marshes that were drained during the regime of Saddam Hussein. This festival was the brainchild of Nature Iraq, BirdLife International’s partner in Iraq, whose staff worked tirelessly to make it such a great success. My personal account is told here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22706024
I have been fortunate in working closely with Nature Iraq over the past nine years and would encourage BB readers to follow their activities on their website: http://www.natureiraq.org They have achieved so much since their launch.
Richard Porter