Flamingo colony at Lake Rezaieh northwest of Iran
The Government of Iran shared the concern of all enlightened nations with the growing crisis of the global human environment. The problems in Iran are themselves serious. Geographically, Iran is a large country with extremely diverse conditions. In a single generation a small agrarian economy developed into an industrial cornplex, the population more than doubled, and per capita income increased ten-fold. All these factors placed a tremendous strain on the environment.
In 1956 concern for wildlife produced the first game and fish organization. Programmes have developed since then for the protection of wildlife. In 1974, the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act established the Environmental High Council and the Department of the Environment. The latter reported directly to the Prime Minister and worked under the surveillance and policy directives of the High Council which was presided over by Prince Abdorreza Pahlavi.
The Department of the Environment had a wide and explicit mandate covering the protection, enhancement and ecological balance of the environment, wildlife, inland fisheries, conservation, environmental reserves, wetlands, outdoor recreation, emission and quality standards for air, water, soil, wastes and noise, pest-control research, natural landscape preservation and associated public education programmes.
In the seventies, the Department ran an environmental technical college, 25 field offices and 75 environmental reserves which include 12 national parks, 23 protected areas, 29 wildlife refuges and two national nature monuments.
As of the late seventies among the many projects which were being carried out were the creation near Tehrean of Pardistan, described as a total environmental park that would have presented the multifarous natural-science disciplines as. a single holistic science.
In the field of nature conservation, none of Iran's existing wildlife species were truly endangered, but protection continued towards the rare Persian Fallow Deer, Red Deer, Persian Wild Ass, Goitered and Jebeer Gazelles, Asiatic Cheetah, Baluchestan Black Bear and Marsh Crocodile. Special protection was given to two threatened species of birds, the Great Bustard and the Caucasian Black Grouse, as well as the more secure Houbara Bustard, and breeding colonies of Flamingoes, Pelicans anc Marbled Teal.
Rainbow Trout were successfully introduced into a former barren lake and sustained by special aeration techniques, and efforts were being made to proliferate a newly discovered specie of Brown Trout, and to protect the endangered Caspian Salmon and Sturgeons.