“Imagine all the people, living life in peace.” It might have been easy to call Lennon a dreamer at the turning of the age, but now it seems ideals envisioned by the few may actually be turning into reality.
In Iran’s Kurdistan region, hunters have made an incredible vow to change their ways for the sake of wildlife. They’ve burned their traps, broken their rifles, and are vowing to now stand in solidarity with animals they once targeted.
This move came just two weeks after the Iranian environmental ministry released a report indicating that 74 species that are native to the country have been placed on the red list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. This means they are in danger of becoming extinct from human activity.
According to France 24, conservationist from Chya met with local hunters individually to inform them of the threats posed by hunting – both illegal and legal – and successfully convinced 19 of them to take an oath to protect the region’s biodiversity.
Veteran hunter, Hossein Ahmadi, relayed that this was an easy decision, especially because he had seen the impact over-hunting has caused first-hand.
“I mostly hunted partridges, hares, wood pigeons, and a few other local birds. But even then, I realize now that what I did was damaging to our local wildlife. There are hardly any partridges left in this area. The nearby mountains used to be full of wild goats, but now there are only a dozen left. There also used to be a beautiful bird called the Sandgrouse, which nested all over the mountains, but nobody has seen them in 15 years,” said Ahmadi.
According to the Iranian, “hunting is out of control, and it’s destroying our wildlife. That’s why I and other hunters decided to set an example, by taking an oath to stop killing all animals.”
Such action may protect endangered animals from going extinct in the future. Just in the last century, several iconic species have been hunted to extinction, including the Iranian lion and the Mandarin tiger.
If devout hunters can break their rifles and choose peace for animals instead, what other kind of global change is possible?