ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Members of a volunteer group from the Kurdistan Region's province of Sulaimani scattered food outside on Friday in hopes of helping wild animals who might be having trouble finding sustenance as a result of recent extreme weather conditions.
"Our organization and a number of environmentalists in Pishdar District decided to place food and grain in the mountainous areas of Pishdar, especially in the region of Kele, which has seen much snowfall," Omed Rasoul, told Kurdistan 24 on Friday.
Much of Pishdar has rough, hilly terrain, making it one of the colder areas of the Kurdistan Region that has seen multiple instances of snowfall in the past week.
Rasoul's group is called Chatri Hamwan, Kurdish for "Everyone's Umbrella," and is made up of environmentalists who organize volunteer events and gatherings. Due to excessive snowfall and cold temperatures, they took up the task of trying to assist local wildlife in the unforgiving weather.
"The goal of this work is to preserve the environment and [its] natural beauty by protecting" the various mammals and birds dwelling therein, Rasoul explained.
In July, during the sweltering summer heat in Halabja, two Kurdish youths placed water and food in the branches of trees for birds roaming the city's skies who they felt might be facing difficulty finding hydration and nutrients.
"Service is not only for people," volunteer Rawezh Nasih told Kurdistan 24 at the time. "Animals are part of our family. They should be considered as part of our family and our community."
In addition to any hardship caused by extreme weather conditions, activists have also expressed a fear of that animals, often in the crosshairs of poachers and individuals who hunt for sport, could be completely wiped out by the direct actions of people.
"Wild deer and birds living in the Garmiyan region will go extinct because locals continue poaching the animals," Ibrahim Zarifi, head of the Garmiyan Environmental Protection Organization, told Kurdistan 24 early November.
Thus, youths in Kurdistan, inspired by the growing global fight for animal rights and protection, are working to raise awareness of the ills suffered by other species and hope for a future where non-humans can enjoy a higher quality of life.
Editing by John J. Catherine
(Additional reporting by Kurdistan 24 correspondent Aras Amin in Sulaimani)