Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
Weblog about cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore.
Otterman - Blog Home

Archives - Blog's RSS - Comments RSS - LJ - Email me - All my blogs - About me: 2004 - 2002

Make a permalink or URL tiny:
Blog email subscription

Enter your email address to receive the previous day's posts:

Categories

Mac and the Internet - NUS
Cycling - Life in Singapore - Meow
Singapore Naturalist - Mangroves
Science - World - Museum
Movies - Literature - Travel

Biology module blogs:
Biodiversity (Year 1)
Ecology (Year 3)
Structure & Function (Year 3)
Marine Biology (Year 4)
Natural History Blogs:
The Biology Refugia
Raffles Museum Toddycats
Intl Coastal Cleanup Singapore
Labrador Park
Pulau Ubin Stories
Pulau Hantu
Yesterday.sg
Cycling in Singapore
Mac Meetup Singapore
Aboard the Götheborg
Otterman Projects
Herpnet
Zendogs/Wheels are Turning
Hopea sangal


Raffles Museum Toddycats!

Pedal Ubin!
Pasir Panjang Heritage
Raffles Museum Internship
MR-BT Briskwalkers



Mac Meetups
Singapore

Some of my kakis

Kakis at home
Lekowala
Ad & Jen
Inertia is a Sin
Halfway between the gutter and the stars
Lost in the Jungle
Dawn, Cat Welfare
Compulsive Maniac
Deadpoet's Cave
Rambling Librarian
Cooler Insights
Pencil Shavings
Moi-Carine
NatureAntz
Ling the Merciless
Philosophize Me Jelly
Dewi A

Kakis overseas
Alvin - Beijing, China:
* Alvin's spiel
Kevin - Buffalo, NY:
Theory is the Reason
Bonny - HCMC, Vietnam:
VietStuff
Jac - London, UK:
Dogged Wanderings
Jasmin - NY, NY:
The Worsted Witch
Marcus - Shanghai, China:
You only live once
Tse-Lynn - Wilmington, NC:
Musings of a barefoot traveller
Jani - Newcastle, UK:
Salted & Fried

Seow Hwa's
The Ice Cream Gallery

Local reads
Commentary Singapore
Singapore Surf
Tomorrow.sg
Screenshots

Resources
SinGeo
Museum Roundtable
Science Daily
Environmental News Network
National Geographic News
New Scientist news
Nature News
Google News
BBC
Resource Shelf
The Unofficial Apple Weblog
Boing Boing
Wired
The Daily Show
www.flickr.com
This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called My Handphone Photos. Make your own badge here.
Books


Made on a Mac with
Claris Home Page 3.0.
Blog engine: Samizdat,
based on PHPosxom,
based on Blosxom.
Updated with TextWrangler.

Creative Commons License
© N. Sivasothi, 2003
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.

Subscribe with Bloglines

Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Mon 15 Dec 2003

Restoring the Mesopotamian Marshlands

Category : world

In the early 90's during work on Asian otters, I came across an interesting account of an subspecies of Smooth-coated otter (Lutra perspicillata maxwelli Hayman, 1957) encountered in the 1960's from the marshes of southern Iraq north of Al Basrah. This was very surprising since the next area in which to find Smooth-coated otters was in India.

The Iraqi otter population was a relic of an ancient wetland connection (possibly punctuated) with India. The marshes themselves are geologically young, believed to be not more than 18,000 years old. Many scientists had confidently predicted the marshes to be a refuge to many undiscovered species of plants and animals that were undergoing evolution in isolation.

The people in the area, the Madan, are popularly referred to as the Marsh Arabs. They are themselves unique, reportedly descendants of the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians (yes, remember the ancient history you studied in school), who have inhabited the Tigris-Euphrates delta for 5,000 years. Unfortunately, scientists were unable to do much about the protection of habitat or her people.

The Madan, after a failed uprising in 1991, faced a systematic reprisal that has them reduced to poverty or fleeing as refugees. Post-Gulf War access obviously difficult, and the UNEP report of 2001 (updated 2003), "Demise of an Ecosystem: Disappearance of the Mesopotamian Marshlands" was based on an analysis of landsat images.

It reports that by 2000, due to human population pressure, eco-cidal war techniques and other reasons, a mere 10% of the marshes remained. Recent reports indicate further loss of one-third of that area, and that it is likely to disappear in five years.

UNEP, however, still remains hopeful (from experience elsewhere) that the marshes can be revived from its remnants. By May 2003, reports emerged that 'Iraqi engineer Azzam Alwash had assembled a team of wetlands ecologists, hydrologists and engineers'.

This project, called "Eden Again", is supported by the Iraq Foundation and hopes to restore the Mesopotamian Marshlands. And I just discovered they hijacked the photo of a Smooth-coated otter taken by Alan Yeo off the Asian Otter webpage!

There's more to this than meets the eye, of course, and I can only hope things improve. Some think there is hope in recovering at least 15% of the marshes.

Posted at 12:56AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .