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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 April 2006, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Wildlife project for Iraq marshes
A ornithologist from Norfolk has been training staff in Iraq to help protect wildlife in Iraq's wetlands.

The Mesopotamian marshes - thought by some to be the biblical Garden of Eden - were drained under Saddam Hussein's regime, but are being flooded again.

Richard Porter, from Cley, is training biologists to learn surveying skills to help conserve the region, which is home to 18 threatened bird species.

A photographic exhibition of the marshes opened in Holt on Saturday.

Mr Porter said: "My hope is that the project will make a difference in the region by training young Iraqi biologists to take good care of the spectacular wetlands that make up Iraq's marshes.

"If more people, both internationally and locally, can realise the biological significance of the region, they will be able to help conserve this wonderful area."

The BirdLife International project aims to monitor and improve the status of wildlife in the Middle East.

The region is also home to Iraq's Marsh Arabs.

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