Iranian Official Criticizes Release of Trophy Hunting Video on Social Media

By Azadeh Karimi


Kiumars Kalantari, the deputy director of the Department of Environment’s Office for Wildlife and Biodiversity, has condemned the publication of footage on social media which shows a trophy hunter killing a young wild goat in the Aliabad Chehelgazi Tangechenar Private Reserve, in the central province of Yazd.

The video clip shows the hunter praising the facilities of the Aliabad Chehelgazi Tangechenar Private Reserve, and dedicating the goat to the members of Qazvin hunting club, in the northwestern province of Qazvin.

“We have warned the management of the Aliabad Chehelgazi Tangechenar Private Reserve,” Mr. Kalantari was quoted as saying by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). “This was an appalling and immoral act by a hunter who wanted to brag and show off.”

Kalantari explained: “Although the person had a hunting permit, and the incident took place in the privately-owned Aliabad Chehelgazi Tangechenar Reserve, which has been operating in line with hunting regulations and licensing since 2016, the Department of Environment strongly condemns this offensive action, given the public’s sensitivity to environmental and wildlife issues.”

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“The private sector manages many of the game reserves in the country,” Kalantari added. “The Department of Environment plays only a supervisory role. We try to raise greater awareness about environmental issues amongst local inhabitants in the province.”

Aliabad Chehelgazi Tangechenar Private Reserve occupies an area of 50,000 hectares and is home to 1,010 wild goats, wild ram, and deer.

The Department of Environment’s Hunting and Fishery office has reportedly issued only 25 hunting permits this year.

The government lifted a five-year hunting ban on wildlife quadrupeds in 2018. Since then, the Department of Environment’s Hunting and Fishery office has published its new fee structure for hunting permits.

The government has been actively promoting Iran as the choice destination for game reserves and hunting.

Environmentalists have, however, warned about the alarming number of permits that have been issued to Russian, European and American hunters in recent years.

Conservationists have called on the Department of Environment to halt all forms of hunting in protected wildlife sanctuaries, arguing that the country’s wildlife and ecosystem have fallen victim to the lucrative and loosely regulated hunting industry.

Tehran’s Department of Environment lifted a five-year ban on hunting birds in 2018. The department, however, denied media reports that it had issued permits for hunting 200,000 birds in Tehran province.

In a statement released in December 2018, the department said: “We are mindful of the environmental issues regarding our decision to lift a five-year ban on hunting birds. We must also consider the legal rights of bird hunters. Following an expert and scientific assessment and after fulfilling all legal requirements, we have issued hunting licenses for partridge, see-see partridge, pigeon, common cuckoo, duck, and Eurasian teal in Tehran Province.”

“The hunting permits for aquatic and terrestrial birds are, respectively, valid until January 5 and January 20 [2019],” the statement explained. “It is impossible for hunters to kill more than four birds a day, given that the permits are only for Thursdays and Fridays. Also, not all licensed hunters show up on those days. Therefore, there is no way that permit-holders can hunt 200,000 birds in that limited amount of time. So, the reports are inaccurate.”

Illegal hunting and slaughter of thousands of migratory birds from Europe that stop in the Caspian Sea regions have also alarmed conservationists.

“A million wild birds a year are now being killed illegally at a single wildlife site in Iran,” the Guardian reported in February 2018. “In a letter last week to the journal Science, many conservationists pinpoint the Fereydunkenar wetlands [the northern province of Mazandaran] in Iran as the site of this widespread wildlife slaughter.”

[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]