Afghanistan is home to numerous rare and endangered species, including the snow leopard and Marco Polo sheep. The United States, in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), is helping Afghanistan monitor these animals and protect its environmental heritage. In the remote northern provinces of Badakhshan and Nuristan, the USG is training local community members and forest rangers to use motion-sensing cameras to assess wildlife population trends. Monitoring wildlife through remote cameras will help the Government of Afghanistan develop better natural resource management plans in cooperation with local populations.
Approximately 80% of Afghans rely on the environment for their livelihood, so it is essential to gauge animal populations and maintain healthy ecosystems. In addition to monitoring endangered species and other large mammals, the USG and WCS have helped Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency develop the country’s first protected species list. The list provides legal protection to 33 threatened and endangered species, including the snow leopard, of which there is an estimated population of fewer than 100 in the country. Additionally, the United States helped Afghanistan establish its first national park at the Band-e-Amir lakes in April 2009 and pass the Environment Law in 2007.