A BB grant of £1,000 has been awarded to the World Land Trust for use in Armenia. It will be passed to the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) in the Khosrov IBA Buffer Zone Reserve. This Important Bird Area has no fewer than 21 species of breeding raptors, including Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus, Eurasian Black Aegypius monachus and Egyptian Vultures Neophron percnopterus, Short-toed Circaetus gallicus and Lesser Spotted Eagles Aquila pomarina. It also holds some rare mammals, such as the Bezoar Ibex Capra a. aegagrus and Armenian Mouflon Ovis orientalis gmelini, but particularly the Caucasian Leopard Panthera pardus saxicolor.
FPWC has established the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge, where rangers are employed to help protect some of the rarest of the raptors in the region. In 2012, FPWC’s rangers began a supplementary feeding programme for vultures. Many families in the local communities keep cattle and sheep so the rangers encourage them to donate dead livestock to place in the refuge for vultures. This programme has been a great success and one of the Rangers, Hovik Asatryan, said of the entire Caucasus Wildlife Refuge project: ‘This project is a very powerful tool for raising awareness of environmental issues and wildlife in our community. Well-informed people are more aware of the surrounding plants and animals. Now everyone in the community helps to protect our natural assets.’
Money goes further in Armenia than here, and our grant will go towards tree-planting to restore former logged areas, or to rangers’ salaries, thereby helping to protect threatened species against illegal poaching and to fund feeding programmes like the one described above.