Afghanistan has released its first list of protected wildlife that can no longer be hunted or harvested.

32 species are on the initial list, with conservationists hoping to list 70 species by the end of the year.

The critically endangered snow leopard, wolf, brown bear and the goitered gazelle are among the 20 mammals listed. The Paghman mountain salamander, also critically endangered, is the sole amphibian.

The Afghan list means it is now illegal to hunt snow leopards anywhere on earth. Previously pelts were selling for up to US$1,500 in tourist shops.

It’s estimated that there are only around 100 snow leopards left in Afghanistan. However, a group of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society managed to photograph some via camera traps in the Wakhan Corridor, to the east of the country, at the beginning of June.

Four of their five traps took a total of 22 photos of the leopards.

All this good news comes hot on the heels of the gazetting of Afghanistan’s first national park in April. Band-e-Amir, in the centre of the country, is famed for its spectacular mineral lakes.

National carrier Ariana is reportedly in talks to resume flights between the UK and Afghanistan.