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Irano-Anatolian Hotspot

The Irano-Antalian hotpsot covers an area of 899,773 sq km and includes parts of Central and Eastern Turkey, small part of southern Georgia, parts of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran and Turkmenistan. The vegetation includes forest steppe, deciduous and juniper forests, alpine and subalpine vegetation.

The region has 6,000 plant, 142 mammal, 362 bird, 116 reptile, 18 amphibian and 90 freshwater fish species. Interesting plant species that grow here are the salt tolerant plants belonging to the families Chenopodiaceae and Plumbaginaceae.

Endangered species of birds that breed here include the white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala), great bustard (Otis tarda), marbled duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris) and the imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca). A significant proportion of the world's population of the crimson-winged finch (Rhodopechys sanguinea), Finsch's wheatear (Oenanthe finschii), rufous-tailed wheatear (O. xanthoprymna), Upcher's warbler (Hippolais languida), white-throated robin (Irania gutturalis) and the eastern rock-nuthatch (Sitta tephronata) occur in this hotspot.

Critically endangered mammals that survive in small populations include the Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus), Persian wild ass (Equus hemionus nager) and the Turkmenian wild ass (E. h. kulan). Most of the endemics here are rodents like the Dahl's jird (Meriones dahlia) and a vole (Microtus quzvinensis). Threatened reptiles include the four endemics, the Darevsky's viper (Vipera darevskii), mountain viper (Vipera albizona), Wagner's viper (Vipera wagneri) and Latifi's viper (Vipera latifi).

About a third of the freshwater fish species are endemic and include the globally threatened Salmo platycephalus and the endemic Chalcalburnus tarichi. Among invertebrates this hotspot has one of the highest scorpion diversity with about 40 species.

Overgrazing, irrigation schemes like setting up of dams, use of forest trees for firewood, mining, political instability and military disturbances are all threats faced by this hotspot. About 7% or 56,193 sq km of land is under some form of official protection. Non-governmental organisations like the Organization Cenesta and Turkish Nature Society are working on conserving biodiversity in their region.

[The information has been sourced from the Conservation International website on biodiversity hotspots ( Accessed in February 2008.]

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