Residents of Uzbekistan can no longer keep certain species of bears, crocodiles, or tigers at home, under the amendments to wildlife protection laws signed by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on Friday.
The amendments are intended to protect the environment “as well as preserve and use biodiversity,” and will serve as the basis for “ensuring stable living conditions and preserving natural populations of wild animals, especially their rare and endangered species.”
The Uzbek legislature adopted the amendments in May and the Senate approved them last month.
The government in Tashkent has not yet made public the full list of species granted special protection under the new law. Uzbek media outlets have previously quoted the Ministry of the Environment as saying that “more than fifty” species will be covered, including tigers and crocodiles, as well as certain species of bears, fish, snakes, and insects.
Uzbekistan has previously raised the fines for cruelty to animals, poaching, water pollution, and improper waste disposal, also citing environmental concerns.
About 80% of Uzbekistan’s territory is classified as a desert. The landlocked former Soviet republic sits on the ancient Silk Road trade route. It has a population of 36 million, concentrated mainly in several cities in the south and the southeast. It borders Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan.
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