The ProjectThere are fewer than 1,300 Caucasian leopards left in the wild, mainly in Iran, and as few as 10-15 in Armenia. The project aims to protect a vital leopard corridor by conserving threatened habitat and wildlife in Armenia’s Caucasian Wildlife Refuge. This project will also benefit other threatened species such as the Syrian Brown Bear, Grey Wolf and Caspian Red Deer. The main threats to the habitat are illegal hunting, overgrazing and unsustainable collection of wild crops. As well as habitat restoration, the project will fund camera traps and field surveys to monitor wildlife. These measures will compliment on-going efforts to prevent illegal activities in the reserve that include employing rangers and raising local awareness of the benefits of nature conservation. The project will also support the development of sensitive recreational facilities for controlled access on foot, bike and horseback. New trails will be created which will help local people to generate income through nature-based tourism. EOCA’s funding will:
- Enhance habitat for key wildlife species through planting and care of 4,000 trees, benefitting particularly the bezoar goat, Armenian mouflon and Syrian brown bear. There will be an open day with tree planting activities
- Quantify wildlife species and abundance via camera trap and field surveys
- Enhance public access to the area through extension and maintenance of 5 recreational trails, development and printing of flora and fauna brochures, creation of hiking maps and interpretation panels, and the recruiting and training of new B&B host.