A preliminary version of the second edition of the 'Red Book of the Azerbaijan Republic' that includes rare and endangered species was put on public discussion in the capital Baku on Tuesday, reported Azernews.
The discussion, organized by the Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry, was attended by the editorial board and members of the relevant working group, scientific organizations, NGOs and media representatives.
In his opening speech, Minister Huseyngulu Bagirov said that the preliminary version of the new edition was developed by scholars of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) and local universities.
Bagirov said it was not a final version and new species of flora and fauna can be included in it following the discussions.
He also offered not to exclude from the Red Book the species that survived the dangers of disappearing, as in this case, their protection from the legal point of view would weaken.
Director of the ANAS Institute of Botany Valida Alizade noted that about 140 species of plants were recorded in the first edition of the Red Book released in 1989.
"However, in the new edition their number will be 300, including 14 species of fungi, 20 protozoa and 266 higher plants," Alizade said, noting the need to develop a new list of the Red Book in every 10 years.
According to Alizade, the flora of Azerbaijan has undergone many changes in the last 20 years. During this period, the situation has improved with the protection of some plants by the environment ministry.
"However, some plants have disappeared. Therefore, new monitoring is required," Alizade said.
Addressing the event, Director of the ANAS Institute of Zoology Ilham Alekperov spoke about the animals included in the new edition.
He said that 108 species of animals were listed in the first edition of the Red Book, while the second edition includes 206 species of rare and endangered animals, including 75 insect species, nine species of fish, 14 species of reptiles, 62 species of birds and 32 species of mammals.
Meanwhile, World Wildlife Fund representative Elshad Asgerov voiced his concern over the new edition.
Asgerov noted that only 40 percent of the mammalian species were listed in the new edition and stressed the need to revise some of the species that were listed there.
In turn, Minister Bagirov said such proposals will be considered during the improvement of the publication in case of serious arguments. Bagirov also noted the need for new photos of all plant species which are listed in the Red Book.
Following the discussion, the experts and editorial board outlined areas they will work in to develop the final version of the second edition of the book.
The new edition was prepared on account of the Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry's funds received from fines imposed by the ministry, as well as from a number of international organizations.
The Red Book of the Azerbaijan Republic is an official state document about the status of rare and endangered wild animals and wild plant species in the country's territory. It contains information on the condition of the animal and plant species, their spread and protection on the whole territory of the country, including Azerbaijan's sector of the Caspian Sea.
The current Red Book consists of 6 parts, which reflects the information on rare and endangered 14 mammal species, 36 bird species, 5 species of fish, 13 amphibians and reptile species, 40 insect species and 140 plant species.