On 22 May the world is celebrating the International Day for Biological Diversity. On 21 May EcoLur held a press conference with WWF Armenia Director Karen Manvelyan, where he presented the current state of specially protected areas and biodiversity in Armenia.
'So far five specially protected areas have been founded with WWF projects – Arpi Litch National Park – 2100 ha, Arevik National Park – 34401 ha, Zangezour reserve, Khoustoup reserve and Gnishik protected landscape. They all togetner make up 94407 ha, which is 3.2% of the total area in Armenia, which is rather high, if compared with other countries,' Karen Manvelyan said.
What about found Jermuk National Park, WWF Armenia Director said, 'We have been involved in the development of the new strategy aimed at developing specially protected areas, where we made a proposal to include the establishment of Jermuk National Park. Unfortunately, we were not able to include the territories, which were improtatn both for the leopard and other endangered species, as there are problems with mine prospecting. The stakeholders didn't issue us this permit to include these areas from Syunik region. There were two areas we wanted to include, but the communities didnt agree, as they wanted to develop ship breeding.'
Referring to the endangered species inArmenia Karen Manvelyan mentioned noble deer, which is almost extinct, Dali mouse, which is an international red-listed species. Leopard is also endangered.
'Since 2002 we have implementing leopard preservation project, its total budget is annually about US$ 40,000. We continue our monitoring, we have already placed 40 cameras, out of which 5-7 cameras had been stolen. In recent 8-9 months we have recorded good successes, as the leopards are back to Armenia.' What about poaching, Karen Manvelyan sees tendency of poaching reduction, 'The amount and percentage of poaching has significantly reduced, but it hasn't been abolished. The Khosrov reserve is vulnerable in the borderlines, but, as general, the situation is quite good.' The other speaker at the press conference Arman Vermishyan, Caucases Nature Fund National Coordinator, said, 'Since 2010 we have been making active investments into Armenia. In 2010-2012 around financial support of 560,000 Euros were provided to different specially protected areas. Last year we provided 260,000 Euros, this year we have drastically increased the funding in the amount of 500,000 Euros. He mentioned one of the most important projects for this year is connected with Dilijan National Park, as its management plan has already been expired. 'We have declared an internation contest, and we already have a winner. The group is going to visit Armenia each month to launch its works,' Arman Vermishyan said.
22:19 May 21, 2014