Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bukhara deer (Bokhara deer)

The Bukhara deer (Cervus elaphus bactrianus)

The Bukhara Deer lives in West Turkestan (Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) and adjacent areas in Northern Afghanistan to the west of the Tianshan Mountains.

Also called the Bactrian deer or Bactrian wapiti, it is a lowland subspecies of Red Deer that is native to central Asia. Similar in ecology to the Yarkand deer it occupies riparian corridors surrounded by deserts. Both subspecies are separated from one another by the Tianshan Mountains and probably form a primordial subgroup of Red Deer.

Conservation status : Vulnerable

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Artiodactyla

Suborder: Ruminantia

Family: Cervidae

Subfamily: Cervinae

Genus: Cervus

Species: C. elaphus

Subspecies: C. e. bactrianus

Trinomial name: Cervus elaphus bactrianus


The Bukhara deer is usually ashy-gray with yellowish sheen, and a grayish white rump patch. It also has a slightly marked dorsal stripe and a white margin of the upper lip, lower lip, and chin. They have a short tail like a Wapit but have no neck manes. The antlers are light in color. There are usually four tines, with the absence of bez tine. The fourth tine is better developed than the third. Full grown individuals, however, have five tines on each antler with a bend after the third tine that is characteristic of other Central Asian Red Deer subspecies.

Male Deer have a darker, grayish-brown coat pattern with darker legs, head, and neck and have stronger and thicker neck muscles than female deer that may give the appearance of a neck mane. Female deer are slightly smaller than male deer, but the difference in size is not as pronounced as it is in the European Red Deer.

Calves are generally born spotted much like European Red Deer calves, and most individuals lose their spots by adulthood. However, adults may possess a few spots on the backs of their summer coats. This phenomenon has also been observed in summer coats of the distantly related Manchurian Wapiti (Cervus canadensis xanthopygus) and many other subspecies of Red Deer (Cervus elaphus).

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources has classified five subspecies as "Cervus elaphus". These five subspecies actually belong to the Central Asian Red Deer (Cervus affinis) species. The Shou (affinis) and Tibetan Red Deer (wallichi), MacNeill's Deer (macneilli) and Kansu Red Deer (kansuensis) are actually the same subspecies.

Distribution and habitat

Bactrian Deer are dependent on the lowland riparian corridors for food and shelter do not migrate but may disperse into adjacent desert areas at night or at times of cooler temperatures.


Aside from man, the wolf is probably the most dangerous of predators that most Central Asian Red Deer encounter. Occasionally, Brown Bear and Asiatic Black Bear will prey on these deer as well. Other possible predators are dholes and snow leopards. Eurasian Lynx and wild boars sometimes prey on the calves. In the past they were also hunted by the now extinct Caspian Tiger.


By 1999 there were not more than 400 Bukhara deer. The population diminished most drastically in Tajikistan because of the civil war. However, since then, environmental organizations have taken steps to save the species bringing Bukhara deer back to the places which it had once inhabited. As a result, in 2006 there were about 1000 deer in Central Asia. The global population of this rare deer is now estimated at about 1400 animals.


The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources has put the Bactrian Deer (Cervus affinis bactrianus) in the Red Book (Vulnerable (D1))


1. Geist, Valerius (1998). Deer of the World: Their Evolution, Behavior, and Ecology. Mechanicsburg, Pa: Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-0496-3.
2. Ludt, Christian J.; Wolf Schroeder, Oswald Rottmann, and Ralph Kuehn. Mitochondrial DNA phylogeography of red deer (Cervus elaphus) (pdf). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 31 (2004) 1064–1083. Elsevier. Retrieved on 2006-10-06.
3. Cervus elaphus. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Retrieved on 2006-10-14.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saiga of the Ustyurt Plateau

Photo: Baby Saiga in the snow

The Usturt plateau of Western Uzbekistan and north western Kazakhstan is one of the largest remaining habitats of the Saiga antelope, both the Karakalpak and Kazakh name it the Ak Kuiruk (meaning white tail). It lives on the steeps and semi desert areas of the Eurasian continent and has adapted to survive in the long hot dry summers and cold cold winters.

Traditionally Saiga roam in troops which can number from the hundreds to the tens of thousands. These troops move along with their heads bowed down close to the earth, their hooves raising gigantic clouds of dust. The Saiga has a strange looking nose resembling a proboscis, a result of prolonged evolution which acts as a respirator, so they do not suffocate. On the inside the nose is covered with numerous folds retaining dust. In winter it warms up the frosty air and facilitates breathing.

Saiga antelopes are ideally suited to life on the steppe. The yellowish-chestnut colour of their fleece similar to that of the ground permits the animals to hide themselves from their predators by merging into the environment. New born calves can remain still for a very long time. It is hard to notice a small saiga calf lying motionless on the ground a few metres away. However the young saiga does not stay still for long on the third day after birth it is ready to start on its long journey with its mother.

The saigas breeding season starts in December. During that period of time the bucks fight for the does. Winners collect harems numbering from 5 to 50 does and watch them closely, not permitting them to leave the harem and driving away rivals. They lead a nomadic life migrating many hundred of kilometres each season in search of better pastures. They mostly feed on wormwood and saltwort unfit for other animals, thus maintaining the natural vegetation balance.

Today one of the biggest remaining populations of saiga antelopes is found in the Usturt Plateau of Karakalpakstan where they winter before moving into the Kazakh part of the plateau in search of summer pastures.

Watching the winter migration on the Ustyurt is an impressive sight. On an early frosty morning with the temperature -20 Degrees below Celsius a huge greyish-yellow mass of several thousand Saiga emerge on the horizon. Driven by the piercing wind the animals walk along the snowy plane at a measured pace without ever halting even for a second so as to keep themselves warm.

In ancient times saiga antelopes play an important role in local legends of the people of the plateau. One legend relates about a Shepard whose livestock have all died during a harsh winter. He was dying of hunger when the Almighty sent a Saiga to him saying “I will help save you and your family, provide you with food, show you the best pastures and help you find water and it will always be this way. But remember you must never kill us profit, because we are brothers".

You may only hunt us for the sake of survival.” For centuries people followed the behest. They hunted the saiga without doing any harm to their population. The horns of the bucks used as amulets against disease and evil forces.

As little as a hundred years ago saiga antelopes were considered one of the most numerous hoofed animals in Asia. The numbers of their heard reached millions, and their troops covered Eurasia. It however took man only a few decades to destroy the herds; until only a thousand remained, in small pockets isolated in the remote steeps of Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Mongolia.

The cause of the saigas misfortune is their beautiful lyre shaped antlers which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. At the beginning of the 20th century thousands of pairs of antlers where for sale at the markets in Bukhara, Khiva and Tashkent. A pair of antlers costing as much as a camel.

However, only bucks have antlers and they form a minority of the population. When most of the bucks were exterminated, the population lost its natural reproduction ability. Only urgent measures in the early Soviet Period helped them survive at the time. By the 1980s the total population once again reached one million heads and the animals returned to their traditional habitat, and new troops were even able to get acclimatised to new habitats.

The past decades since the end of the Soviet Union have once again proved to be very difficult for these beautiful creatures, the insidious Chinese “medicinal” trade is once again driving the Saiga antelope towards extinction. Just in the last decade alone heard’s in Uzbekistan have reduced by some 90%.

If this immoral trade is not stopped soon there will be little chance of retaining these wondrous creatures for the generations to come.

Source: Wikipedia & Uzbekistan Airlines Magazine - Summer 2009

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Badai-Tugai Reserve

Bukhara Deer

The Badai-Tugai Zapovednik (Nature Reserve) is located on the right bank of the Amudarya River in the southwestern part of Karakalpakstan some 85 km south of the Takhiatash dam and 130km north of the Tuyamuyun dam. The reserve is 17.5 km length, and its width varies from 1.5 to 2 km. Tugai forests make up 70% of its 6462 hactares.

It was created in 1971 with the purpose of conservation of the typical intra-zonal tugai ecosystems that were being lost due to the regulated drainage of the Amu-Darya river.

In the past, tugai covered approximately 70% of the territory in the Amudarya's lower reaches, but due to regulation of the Amudarya flow and agricultural development of floodplains they now have nearly completely disappeared.

The tugai (riparian) ecosystem at the time of the establishment of the preserve contained 167 varieties of higher plants, 91 species of birdlife, 15 species of mammals and 15 species of fish.

Today the Badai-Tugai reserve is home to a number of species jackals, karakal desert cats, foxes, hare, wild boar, karakal sheep, bald badgers, porcupines and pheasants and reintroduced Bukharan deer (breeding area) and also the home of some rare birds : Egyptian vultures, Griffons, and white-headed hawks.

Tugai Forest

Tugai is actually a complex ecosystem composed of a number of adjacent related habitats growing away from the water line: shoreline communities giving way to reed beds, then gallery forests, then fringe shrubs, sedges and finally desert.

In the past poplars and willows dominated the dense forests, while tamarisk and elaeagnus filled the shrub thickets. This dense vegetative cover used to provide habitats for a rich spectrum of wildlife: birds, waterfowl, large and small mammals, amphibians and in the spring and summer and huge quantities of mosquitoes.

Over the past 50 years the whole environment of the delta has changed beyond recognition. The former flood plain of the river has been intensively developed for irrigated agriculture, with the water table significantly lowered, and the seasonal floods artificially controlled. Now the water supply for the forest comes mainly from ground water, partly fed by the amu darya river and partly fed from the nearby irrigation districts.

Saving the Bukhara Deer

In late 1990’s their overall number was estimated to be as little as 300-350 in Uzbekistan and the Bukhara deer was on the verge of disapearing. It was included in the World Red Book and Red Book of Uzbekistan and several other Central Asian republics. Today there are around 300 deer in Badai-Tugai reserve. The total number of Bukhara deer in Uzbekistan alone is now over 1000.

The Badai Tugai Nature Reserve however is overpopulated, and has been subject to poaching. Downstream new sites of riparian forests are being developed for translocations, by a joint Karakalpakstan Government and UNDP [United Nations Development Program] / GEF (Global Environment Fund) project.

If sucessfully rehabilitated these areas of Tugai forest will offer a critical new habitat for the Bukharan deer.

To find out more about these new protected areas see the UNDP website for the Conservation of "Tugai Forest" and Strengthening Protected Areas System in Uzbekistan's Amu Darya Delta of Karakalpakstan.

The Ustyurt Plateau


The Ustyurt Plateau also known as the Ust-Urt and Usturt Plateau. (Kazakh: Üstirt, Turkmen: Üstyurt) . The plateau located between the Aral Sea and the Caspian Sea. It extends roughly 200,000 km²  and consists primarily of stony desert. The plateau’s semi-nomadic population raises sheep, goats, and camels. The Ustyurt is clearly demarcated by its steep escarpments, which reach up to 200m in height called T'chinks.

It is generally a barren and fairly featureless place. In summer, temperatures can reach 42°C and in the winter can fall to -40°C. Coupled with a strong winds it can feel in the summer like being in the permanent blast of a furnace.

The area is inhabited by such rare animals as Usturt Saiga, the moufflon or urial, ratel from the family of martens, long-needled hedge-hog and a good many species of wild cats: karakal, barkhan cat and the famous cheetah and . Birdlife includes  slim gazelles-zhairans, beautiful bustards (or Jacks) and other birds of desert.

The T'Chink

The Ustyurt is an extraordinary natural geological feature, a sand and limestone desert plateau stretching 800km from north to south. It sits on its own micro-tectonic plate or massif which has been gradually elevated over the past four or five million years so that it now stands around 200 metres higher than the delta plane.

Generally the plateau is a slightly hilly desert plain, faintly covered by a wormwood and unprepossessing shrubs of Russian thistle. In wide-spread drainless depressions there also occur shrubs of black saxaul. Steep ledges or (T'chinks) add immensely to the inimitable beauty of the landscape. The western part of the chink is especially picturesque, which achieves 340 meters in elevation; its eroded precipice takes quite fanciful forms. These breakages, formed by the wind, have an almost whimsical character.

To visit the T'Chink you can drive from Nukus to Qon'ırat (Kungrad) and then up onto the plateau or go first to Shomanay and then head northwest towards Shamambet. You will see first the t'chink like some white dream-like apparition along the horizon.


The Ustyurt (U'stırt) Plateau stretches between the Caspian Sea (left) and the Aral Sea (upper right quadrant). The Plateau is shared between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan with a small area in the south within Turkmenistan.

There are a number of bodies of water nearby the Plateau. To the lower left of the Map you can see the greenish-blue Karabogas Bay a shallow inundated depression in the northwestern corner of Turkmenistan, a bay on the edge the Caspian Sea, with a surface area of about 14,000 km².

To the east of this can be seen the dark Sarygamysh Lake (salt), situated in north central Turkmenistan with the northwest quarter of the lake in Uzbekistan.

The greenish area to the lake’s northeast is vegetation around the Amu Darya River, which once fed the Aral Sea to its north. Since the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers were diverted by irrigation projects, the Aral Sea has shrunken rapidly.

As of 2007 it had declined to around 10% of its original size, splitting into three separate lakes, two of which are now too salty to support fish.

The Aral in 1985

Main Sources :

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Khorezm - The Birthplace of Zoroastrianism

A modern depiction of Zoroaster

The Zoroastrian religion was founded nearly 2700 years ago by the Prophet  Zoroaster who it is believed was born in the territory of the ancient Empire of Khwarezm (covering Uzbekistans' Khorezm and the Republic of Karakalpastan and parts of northern Turkmenistan).

Zoroastrian beliefs teach that there is but one god, whom they call "Ahura Mazda". They believe he created all things and is responsible for all order, righteousness and Justice on earth.  He is in a constant battle with Angra Manyu the spirit of evil and that the earth is their battleground.

The Zoroastrian religion is considered by many scholars to be the forerunner of a number of contemporary religions. It developed the first such notions as the creation of the world, paradise and hell, the messiah's advent, doomsday and the last Judgement. All three major contemporary religions to a certain extent have borrowed concepts from Zoroastrianism which was already a mature religion by the time each started to develop.

The exact date or place of origin of Zoroastrianism, or the precise dates of life of the Prophet Zoroaster himself are unknown, however scholars presume he lived in the 8th–7th centuries BC. Little else is known about his life other than that he was married, had four children, began his holy work at the age of 30 and lived to see his 77th birthday and was killed by a pagan priest.

Zoroastrian Heritage of Uzbekistan

The year 2001 was declared by Uzbekistan to be the 2700th anniversary of the holy Zoroastrian book the Avesta. 

In the mid-20th century the well known Russian archeologist and orientalist Sergei Tolstov who had studied many ancient monuments in the lower Amu Darya dating from the mid 1st millennium B. C. came to the conclusion that Zoroastrianism had first originated in ancient Khorezm. His opinion is today shared by many other distinguished scholars.  Indeed of the over sixty ancient Zoroastrian monuments found in  the world two thirds of them are in Uzbekistan, with seventeen located in Khorezm and Karakalpakstan (Others are found in Iran, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan).


Zoroasterians believe that their prophet Zarathushtra received the whole truth, or revelation, from God himself and that truth is found in their holy book the Avesta.  Legend states that the prophet went to the river during the spring festivities to fetch water at daybreak, once at the river (almost certainly the Amu Darya) he saw a creature, which was shining so brightly that the prophet could not see his own shadow on the ground.

 Depiction of the God Akhura Mazda

This was the first time that he felt the presence of the supreme god "Akhura Mazda". He is said to have heard god's words calling upon him to serve. "As long as it is in my power, I will be teaching people to seek after the truth."

Whilst "Akhura Mazda" is the only god and he created all that is good; in opposition to  him is the personification of evil treacherous and absolutely malicious "Angra Manyu".

Zarathushtra taught that these two ultimate parties of the universe one representing good and the other evil are inherently opposed to each other.  That there is a continious struggle between Good and Evil, Truth and Lies, Light and Darkness concepts that penetrate the whole of Zoroastrian doctrine.

"When, oh, Mazda, will come Peace with the Truth and Power, bringing us good life and pastures? Who will give us rest from the blood-thirsty followers of Lie? Let the robbers and murderers be paid back by a good ruler! Let it give peace to the settled families!"

This plea to fight against Evil was meant not only for cosmic forces, but also for every human; as he believed that "any human is a creation of God". To help each of his followers reach moral perfection, the prophet set out a strict moral code: to live in accordance with good thoughts, good words and good actions.

According to his philosophy, the history of the world consists of several parts. First Akhura Mazda made the "spiritual", and then the immaterial world, then he gave everything a shape, a body. This  "good" allowing all living beings to fully perceive the world through all their senses. He believed however that with the materialisation of the spirits there also came disorder.

Angra Manyu

And that the evil spirit "Angra Manyu" would also materialise and attack the world. The Avesta tells that the Angra Manyu made the sea water salty, created deserts, and even poisoned the holy fire with smoke. In short his aim was to do harm to all the creatures of God and was the cause of all the moral vices and weaknesses in people.  Zoroasterians believe that the time we are living in now is neither absolutely good nor absolutely bad. It is a mixture of good and evil. That we are destined to defeat evil and restore the world to its initial perfect state. Good will again be separated from evil, evil will be totally destroyed and then Akhura Mazda and all good men and women will live in absolute order and peace.

Zarathushtra taught that every soul leaving the body is to be judged by what it did during the lifetime. That the soul will be tried and weighed on the justice scales, the verdict depending on his or her moral achievements during their lifetime, not on the offerings made. The more good thoughts and actions the soul achieves, the easier it is for thier sole to go to Heaven. If the scales show more evil, the soul will go down to Hell, where sinners will live through 'ages of sufferings, gloom, bad food and sorrowful moans'.

But even in Heaven the souls will not enjoy complete bliss until the "Making of Wonder" comes. The resurrection will be followed by the Last Judgement when the righteous would be separated from the sinners. All the metals on earth will melt and form a flowing river. All the people will have to walk across this river. 'For the blessed it will be like fresh milk, whereas the bodies of the sinful will have to walk in the molten metal'. This last judgement will eliminate all the sinners. This river of the molten metal will then flow to hell and totally destroy Angra Manyu and all the evil in the world.

These apocalyptic visions were it seems later borrowed by other religions. One major difference with todays religions is that Zoroaster professed that his people would live in the familiar and beloved world which would be restored to its initial perfection and that they would enjoy paradise like eternal bliss on earth and not in some distant illusory such as the kingdom of heaven.

Zoroastrians also have the custom of praying five times a day which today is also practiced by other religions, Islam in particular. Daily prayers were compulsory for every follower of the Zoroastrianism not just to worship God but as a weapon to be used in the fight against evil.

Zoroastrians had rather peculiar religious rites. The neighbouring peoples called the Zoroastrians fire-worshippers. The cult of fire from the divine spark in the human soul to the holy fire in the temples was indeed of a great significance for the followers of Zarathushtra.

However, they did not burn their deceased, as the commonly believed. On the contrary, they left the dead on the flat tops of "towers of silence" or just left bare in deserted places so that birds and animals would fed on them. Then they put the remaining bones into special containers called assuaris.

In Zoroastrian temples the priests kept the holy fire by feeding it with the wood of fruit trees and priests have a duty to the fire to guard it. The faithful entered the temples in white linen masks covering the nose and mouth – so as to prevent the holy fire from being contamination by their 'dirty breath'. If it was believed necessary, a rite of fire purification was performed. During this ritual they walked three times round the fire and sang hymns from Avesta.

The social life of the Zoroastrians was full of religious holidays. The most important of them were seven holidays celebrated in honour of the seven gods. Taking part in these holidays was a religious duty of the faithful. Navruz ('New Day') was the principal holiday. It is believed that this holiday was established by Zoroaster himself. The holiday was celebrated on the first day of a new year – on the vernal equinox. It symbolized the beginning of new life, when evil is defeated and the world is miraculously transformed. That is why this holiday was especially joyful, with a lot of rites symbolizing renewal and bliss.

National Holiday  - Today Navruz is still the most important national holiday in Uzbekistan and other parts of Central Asia.

Navruz, the day of vernal equinox, has been celebrated for more than three thousand years. Legend says Navruz is connected with  King Jamshid, on whom on this day, according to legend first felt the rays of the sun and declared it a day for celebration.

Zoroastrianism for over 13 centuries, up to the 7th century A. D. was the dominant religion of almost every part of Central Asia and the Middle East. Having invaded the region in 334 B. C., Alexander the Great conquered and destroyed many Zoroastrian temples and shrines.

They suffered badly as many of their priests, who had vainly tried to defend their sanctuaries, were slaughtered. In those times, when religious texts were passed on orally and the priests acted as "speaking books", the loss of this live communication led to a loss of many of the ancient ideas.

It was only in the 6th century A. D. that a local alphabet emerged and the Avesta was written down (somewhat like the bible there is approx. a 150 year gap between the death of Jesus and the first "New testament texts"). The recording of the ancient sacred texts; known as the Great Avesta consists of twenty one sections ('nasks'). These nasks are further subdivided into three groups, each containing eight parts. The first group has gats ('hymns') and all the relevant texts. The second group contains scholastic essays. The third one has treatises, instructions for priests and the collection of laws and rules. Later his sermons and songs were also included into the Avesta. The holy book acting as a sort of  encyclopaedia of that epoch.

In the mid-7th century the Sassanid Empire was conquered by the Arabs, and expansion of Islam, predetermined the fate of Zoroastrianism. Islam triumphed. A large number of the population converted and their children grew in the new faith, taught Arabic prayers instead of the old Zoroastrian ones.

Khorezm - The Birthplace of Zoroastrianism

For a thousand years Zoroastrianism was widely spread in Khorezm, Sogdiana and Bactria. In the lower reaches of the Amu Darya River, three kilometres off the town of Khojeili, there was found a unique archaeological complex – Mizdakhan. The complex stands on three hills. In its eastern part there remained a lot of sepulchral chambers for assuaris. The complex is what remained of a town that used to be a trade and crafts centre of the Khorezm state. One of the branches of the Great Silk Road ran through this town. According to local legend it was the place where Zoroaster wrote the first lines of Avesta. Not far from Mizdakhan stands Chilpik a well-preserved ancient cult Zoroastrian construction.


The strong walls of the fortresses Ayaz-Kala, Toprak-Kala, Koy-Krilgan-Kala and many others (some 300 in all) built in this same era are still an integral part of Khorezmian landscapes. While examining these great monuments, the archaeologist's found the remains of fire temples, household articles, ceramic objects and sculptures – all relating to Zoroastrianism and Avesta characters. In the interior of Toprak-Kala, for example, there have been found fragments of wall paintings and sculptural décor giving life to this era.

Ayaz Kala

Some Zoroastrian customs and traditions can be traced in the present life of the local people; for instance, duels of fighting rams, typical Khorezm dance Lyazgi, which is believed to be the fire-worshippers' ritual dance.

In other parts of Uzbekistan are other important Zoroastrian ruins. In the Afrosiab hills, which hide the ruins of the ancient Sogdian capital Marakanda, there can still be found statuettes of the Zoroastrian goddess of fertility Anakhita.

According to the legend, one of the oldest Bukhara mosques Magoki-Attari was built in the 11th century on the foundations of a Zoroastrian shrine.


The wall painting of one of the cave temples of the 1st century found in Kara-Tepa (Syr Darya Province, Uzbekistan) depicts Buddha-Mazda, a syncretic character that has the features of both the gods of Buddhism and Zoroastrianism, of Akhura Mazda and Buddha. A big shrine surrounded by a circular corridor was recently excavated by Uzbek archaeologists at the site of Kampyr-Tepa, identified with the legendary Alexandria-on-Oks. Such a peculiar lay-out was typical of Zoroastrian temples, where processions of priests performed the main Zoroastrian ritual of walking around the sanctuary.

The last Zoroastrians

Zoroastrian Seal
The last mention of Zoroaster followers living in what is today's Uzbekistan dates back to the period just after Islam was first introduced. By the time of the Mongolian conquest, there probably were no more Zoroastrians settlements left.

Whilst there are no true Zoroastrians left in Central Asia a number of their rituals still linger in some mountainous regions of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Also it is interesting that the Central Asian Jews, or Bukhara Jews preserved many of customs and rites closely connected with Zoroastrianism.

Today's modern Zoroasterians live in neighbouring India (110,000) and Iran (22,000) and there is also large expatriate communities as a result of a century of migration to be found in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, East Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom.