I. R. Iran designates its 24th Wetland of International Importance

Kanibarazan Wetland (927 ha; 36°59'N 045°46'E) is located in the north-west region of the Islamic Republic of Iran and consists of a freshwater lake surrounded by diverse plant communities. The site is located to the south of Lake Urmia, and is surrounded by seasonal wetlands which become dry during summer and autumn. The Kanibarazan Wetland is one of the most important habitats for waterbirds in the region, supporting more than twenty thousand birds with more than one hundred bird species recorded at this site, including a number of important species such as the endangered White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala).

As summarised by Marian Gwilliam, the site provides critical staging/feeding and breeding habitat for waterbirds all year around. In addition, the Cyprinid fish, Acanthalburnus urmianus which is endemic to the I.R. Iran, is also found here. Kanibarazan Wetland was initially a seasonal wetland, originally fed by water from surrounding springs and run off from agricultural land. Drainage canals now supply water to the site throughout the year, making it a permanent wetland. In future, if water is diverted from the site, this would affect plant and animal communities which have become established here.

This site is important for water purification and water storage; it also prevents salt water from intruding into upstream areas. Locals use the area for harvesting straw, fish, and for livestock grazing. The local Mahabad Office of Department of Environment and the Department of Environment General Office of west Azarbaijan Province are responsible for managing this site.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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