"in the 1990s, Iraq’s Kurdistan region found itself under double sanctions — the United Nation’s sanctions on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Saddam’s sanctions on Kurdistan. As a result, the Kurds massively deforested their hillsides to burn wood for energy, wiping out the native Kurdish oak and the food chain that sustained megafauna like the Persian leopard."
"the one place where the Persian leopard still survives today is on the Iraq-Iran border, which is still forested with land mines, “so hunters can’t go there.” And while occasionally a leopard tragically steps on a mine, the minefields have so limited human activity that nature has again flourished there. Alwash wants to keep the mines, create safe hiking routes and call it a “peace park.”
- Thomas Friedman / New York Times