Akeel Khreef follows buffalo living along the Iraqi marshes of Chibayish.

The region suffered terribly under Saddam when he drained it in order to punish the Marsh Arabs, the Madan, who had backed a Shiite uprising.

Thousands of people were then murdered, houses burned down, land mines scattered and remaining water sources were poisoned. The marshes shrank to 10% of their original size, otherwise becoming a barren salt flat, in what the United Nations condemned as one of world’s greatest environmental disasters.

Efforts to restore the marshes had a miraculous effect with the population more or less restored from 6,000 to 67,000. The buffalo population likewise rose dramatically from around 10 to 10,000.

But today, these efforts are threatened once again by climate change, as buffaloes and other wildlife struggle to survive in the polluted waters, causing inhabitants to migrate to cities.

Follow Akeel Khreef’s journey here.