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IUCN NL increases support for Armenian nature reserve

7 March 2016

In the next two years, IUCN NL will invest 100,000 EUR in the expansion and management improvements of the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge in Armenia. This nature reserve was founded in 2011 by the local conservation NGO FPWC with support from IUCN NL's land acquisition fund. Since then, the amount of wildlife has increased dramatically. “This park has the potential to become a leading example for the whole Caucasus region.”

The partnership between FPWC and IUCN NL was made official this afternoon by the signing of an agreement. With the additional support, FPWC can lease 2,000 hectares of forest at the edges of the reserve. This increases the habitat space for wolves, lynx, bears and other wildlife.

Building management capacity

FPWC will also invest in increasing their management capacity. “The new area allows the rangers to stop loggers and poachers from entering the reserve”, Marc Hoogeslag from IUCN NL explains.

The ranger team will grow in size from five to eight members. Hoogeslag: “This creates three jobs for young men from the neighbouring villages. For a region that is troubled by unemployment, that’s fantastic news.” The rangers will be geared with horses, clothing and walkie-talkies, and an extra ranger station will be built. Lastly, the rangers will go on an exchange visit to India, where they can learn from the mangement practices employed there.

Leading example

On top of the support from IUCN NL, FPWC also receives a 20,000 EUR grant from a Dutch private foundation. This money is used to promote the success of the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge in surrounding countries. “The Caucasus Wildlife Refuge is the first and only privately managed reserve in the region”, says Hoogeslag. “It proves how a small ngo can effectively contribute to conservation, where government and other institutions are lacking. We’re happy to promote the replication of this model.”

The partnership between IUCN NL and FPWC is made possible by the Dutch Postcode Lottery.


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More articles by: Marc Hoogeslag