Bird paradise in Armenia in danger


This 28 May 2013 video from Armenia says about itself:

Pan of one of the many fish ponds at Armash showing large numbers of White-winged Black Terns, Coots and Pygmy Cormorants, 9th May 2013.

From BirdLife:

Beautiful bird paradise in Armenia at risk after misuse of water resources

By Alessia Calderalo, Wed, 26/11/2014 – 08:54

Imagine a place where the Armenian, Turkish, Iranian and Azerbaijani borders converge on the banks of the Araks River, a place home to 220 bird species, a place full of water, plants and animals. This place, well known for its natural richness and beauty, is the Armash, one of the 18 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in Armenia and among one the richest ornithological hotspots in the Caucasus. Sadly, it has recently been declared in danger.

Originally, Armash IBA was a semi desert area, but thanks to a series of man-made changes and the introduction of fish farming practices, the IBA developed a unique assemblage of habitats including water channels and ponds with wetland vegetation that gave the area its great conservation value. Armash is home to Globally Threatened species like Marbled Teal and White-headed Duck, and hosts rarities like Eurasian Spoonbill and the graceful White-tailed Lapwing, which cannot be found elsewhere in Armenia.

Armash was recognised as an IBA of global importance due to its exceptional natural richness and its importance for migratory birds that cross its national borders during Spring and Autumn. Unfortunately, over the last decade, water resources have been misused and the water springs used for drinking and irrigation in the villages of Ararat province have begun to dry up the area, threatening its unique wildlife.

The Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds (ASPB; BirdLife Partner) has been working for several years to save the area. The organisation has collaborated with the US Embassy, USAID and the Armenian Nature Protection Ministry to find solutions [for] its conservation. As a result of this collaboration, several alternative schemes of channelling water to Armash fish ponds have been proposed and developed.

However, despite these efforts, the water crisis persists and many ponds in the Armash IBA are quickly drying out, and are being replaced by farming lands. This is creating a transformation of the whole ecosystem in the area. Which gives an alarming prospective; if the authorities do not tackle the issue of waste water by adopting and implementing more restrictive laws, it is likely that species such as Marbled Teal will disappear.

ASPB hopes that the Armash IBA will be preserved as the natural paradise it has been for many years, and that the surrounding countries will actively contribute to this conservation.

For more information, please contact Tsovinar Hovhannisyan, Conservation Officer at ASPB.

Over 40% of marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (marine IBAs) in Europe are not protected, and two thirds of EU countries only protect 3% or less of their marine area (Territorial sea and Exclusive Economic Zones). These are some of the shocking findings of Birdlife’s report “Marine Natura 2000 Progress Assessment released today. The report assessed the progress of 23 EU coastal countries in designating Special Protection Areas, using as reference BirdLife’s marine IBAs: here.

Armenian leopards win vote


This video from Armenia says about itself:

Caucasian Leopard in the Caucaus Wildlife Refuge – Daytime

29 August 2013

Camera-trap footage of a Caucasian Leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor), from WLT’s Armenian partner FPWC (Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets).

Further proof of the leopard‘s presence in the CWR and FPWC’s successful conservation work.

From Wildlife Extra:

Saving Armenia’s leopard wins £25,000 grant

The World Land Trust’s project, Saving Armenia’s Leopard – has won a grant of £25,000 from National Geographic Germany. In an online poll organised by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) during the second half of March 2014, more than 52,000 votes were cast for 17 conservation projects all vying for funding.

WLT’s conservation partner in Armenia, Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) will use the grant (approximately £25,000) to preserve habitat for the endangered caucasian leopard.

This sub species of leopard is registered as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and has a total population of no more than 1,300. The caucasian leopard’s stronghold is in Iran, where it is known as the Persian Leopard, but in Armenia there may be as few as 15 individuals remaining.

FPWC will use the grant to strengthen existing research and monitoring of this little studied and endangered predator. Funds will also be used to restore degraded mountainsides with a programme to plant 4,000 trees and to develop sustainable tourism initiatives with local communities.

Thanking all supporters, Ruben Khachatryan, FPWC’s founding Director, said: “Community development is a crucial cornerstone in our effort to protect the Caucasian Leopard. In Armenia most villages located in remote mountainous areas suffer from extreme poverty, triggering illegal logging for firewood on steep mountain slopes, over collection of wild edible crops, unsustainable livestock grazing and, of course, poaching. These human activities destroy the habitat of the Caucasian Leopard and many other rare species.

“FPWC’s Rural Eco-tourism programme – as well as the reforestation measures – addresses these problems and we are more than happy that the grant will help us not only to intensify our research and monitoring of the leopard but also to develop new income opportunities for the local population.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Lynx caught on camera in Armenia


This video says about itself:

3 Dec 2013

Camera-trap footage of a Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx), from WLT’s Armenian partner FPWC (Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets).

Further proof of FPWC’s successful conservation work.

From Wildlife Extra:

Lynx caught on camera in Caucasus Wildlife Refuge

December 2013: Fleeting footage of a Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) has been recorded in the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge in Armenia on a camera-trap funded by World Land Trust (WLT).

The Eurasian Lynx was once quite common in all of Europe but, by the middle of the 19th century, it had disappeared from most countries in Central and Western Europe.

Although registered as a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, the sighting is nonetheless significant because numbers of Eurasian Lynx in Armenia have declined, and are now very rarely seen.

The Eurasian Lynx has a short tail, long whiskers on its face, and tufts of black hair on the tips of its ears. Its paws are large and padded, and the legs relatively long, designed for walking through snow. The colouring and markings of its fur varies and can be medium brown, tawny or beige-white, occasionally with dark brown spots.

The Eurasian Lynx lives throughout the mountainous forests of Europe, Russia and Central Asia and is the third largest predator in Europe after the Brown Bear and the Grey Wolf. It is the largest of the lynx species. It is a carnivorous, opportunistic predator, consuming up to two kilograms of meat every day. In the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge the Eurasian Lynx feeds on small mammals such as foxes and rabbits.

The reserve is managed by WLT’s conservation partner in Armenia, the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC).

Caucasian red deer reintroduction in Armenia


This video is called The Caucasian Red Deer.

From Wildlife Extra:

Caucasian Red Deer will be reintroduced in Armenia soon

October 2013. WWF has launched a project to reintroduce the Caucasian Red Deer into Armenia with the aim to set up a breeding group of the species in Dilijan National Park.

The project will include the preparation of a breeding center in Dilijan National Park, the purchase and transportation of 4 male and 11 female deer to Armenia, training of the breeding center staff, keeping and breeding of the animals, and finally release and monitoring in the wild.

“This is an unprecedented project for Armenia as this will be the country’s first reintroduction.” said Karen Manvelyan, the director of WWF Armenia.

Highly Endangered

The Caucasian Red Deer is one of the most endangered wildlife species in the South Caucasus. This species, once largely spread in the forests of Northern, Eastern and Southern Armenia, was disappeared a few decades ago due to poaching and habitat destruction. Now it is considered as a species which accidently enters the territory of Armenia from neighbouring countries.

Currently the Caucasian Red Deer is included in the Red Book of Armenia as “Critically Endangered” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria.