Safe haven for unique Armenian flora and fauna
Leasing a unique nature area in the Caucasus allows vulnerable species to be protected from hunters. With support from IUCN NL, the leopard and bear have a chance at survival.
The unique Khosrov Reserve in Armenia is home to all kinds of waterfowl, birds of prey such as eagles and vultures, and no less than 40 mammal species, some of which can only be found in this part of the Caucasus. Unfortunately, many of these animals, including the Caucasian leopard, lynx, mouflon (wild sheep), bear and bezoar goat are faced with extinction. The greatest danger comes from hunters, but also from farmers in the area who let their cattle graze in the reserve, disrupting the habitat of the species that live there.
Armenian partner organization FPWC (Foundation for the Protection of Wildlife and Cultural Assets) received a EUR 20,000 grant within the framework of IUCN NL’s Small Grants for the Purchase of Nature (SPN) programme. The grant was used to lease 839 hectares of land in the vulnerable boundary areas of the reserve. Some of the money has gone towards building a facility for the park rangers. The park rangers are in charge of enforcing park regulations. The work of FPWC is also supported by the British World Land Trust.
The FPWC Wildlife Refuge is increasingly becoming a safe haven for flora and fauna, as became incontrovertably clear when in July 2013, the tail of a Caucasian leopard was captured on camera. It was eight years since one had been seen in the vicinity of the park. Other animal populations are restoring themselves as well. The number of bezoar goats has increased and the animals are also less timid, which is a sign that they feel at ease there. Herds numbering up to 30 goats are now regularly seen inside the reserve. In addition, the people living in the area benefit from the reserve, so it receives a lot of local support. Four park rangers have been hired, and in the future ecotourism is expected to create jobs for the people in the nearby village of Urtsadzor.