Iraq's Unique Wildlife Pushed to Brink by War, Hunting
After decades of strife, the world’s first civilization is losing many of its animals, such as otters, deer, songbirds, and more.
Sinjar, IraqEven by the Islamic State’s brutal standards, the mess its fighters made of Kaldo Shoman’s farm had to be seen to be believed.
Over more than two decades, Shoman and his two brothers had labored to turn their land into an ad-hoc animal sanctuary. By planting trees, they hoped to attract migrating birds—and eventually tourists—to this largely barren swath of northwestern Iraq. In an area with scarce water, they carved out an artificial pond—and then watched as wild pigs and the occasional gazelle came calling.
But in one fell swoop, the Islamic State wiped their refuge off the map.
Blasting through the front gate in the summer of 2014, the men penned the Iraqi farmer's horses into a paddock and used