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Wild Animals Initiative responds to appeal of Centre for Biological Diversity of Azerbaijan

31 October 2023 16:38 (UTC+04:00)
Wild Animals Initiative responds to appeal of Centre for Biological Diversity of Azerbaijan

The Wild Animals Initiative has responded to an appeal by Azerbaijan's Centre for Biological Diversity Public Association about animals falling into mines in liberated territories, Azernews reports.

Kat Kerr, the organization's Director of Public Affairs, said in a response letter to the UN that the intention to help mine-affected animals was admirable: "This seems to be an important issue that needs to be addressed.

It is estimated that there are more than 1.5 million mines and unexploded ordnance in Garabagh and East Zangazur, territories liberated from the occupation of the Republic of Armenia in 2020 and where the sovereignty and constitutional order of the Republic of Azerbaijan have been restored. The withdrawal of the remnants of the Armenian armed forces and illegal armed formations has been ensured in 2023. Unfortunately, Azerbaijan was one of the most mine-contaminated countries in the world.

Recently, videos and photographs of two bears (Ursus arctos) affected by mine explosions in the liberated territories have been made publicly available:

A few years ago, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) circulated images taken on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia showing two leopards (Panthera pardus) with mangled paws.

Mine victims in Garabagh and Eastern Zangezur are also on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Such a cruel attitude of the Republic of Armenia towards animals and wildlife is unacceptable. The rare natural wonders of the South Caucasus, a region rich in biodiversity, cannot be treated in this way.

Armenia has also used animals as bombers. On 11 September 2023, illegal armed formations of Armenia on the territory of Azerbaijan tied a remote-controlled improvised explosive device to a dog and forced it to move towards the positions of the Azerbaijani army. Thanks to the vigilance of the Azerbaijani army, the attack was prevented.

This provocation contradicts the "Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby Traps and Other Devices" annexed to the "Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Harmful or to Have Indiscriminate Effects". The use of animals as bombers is completely immoral.

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