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In order to improve nature conservation in Armenia, FPWC has taken over the responsibility for approx. 5000 hectares of pristine land in the vicinity of Khosrov Forest State Reserve. Under the name “Caucasus Wildlife Refuge” FPWC aims to maintain the area as a protected buffer zone for the reserve. The rare wildlife species occurring in the area include Armenian Moufflon, Caucasian Brown bear, Bezoar goat, Grey wolf, Black vulture and Armenian viper. In early 2013 it has been also scientifically confirmed that a Caucasian leopard has chosen the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge as its hunting grounds.
FPWC’s aim is to set up a model for a functioning reserve connecting local community development, education, eco-tourism and nature conservation. The project is implemented in partnership with the community administration of the villages Urtsadzor, Lanjanist and Sharap. FPWC is the first organization in the entire region striving to set up a privately managed and monitored nature reserve. The Caucasus Wildlife Refuge therefore can be valued as a pioneering model in nature conservation relying on the involvement of non-governmental organizations and other private actors.
The Caucasus Wildlife Refuge is strictly monitored in order to prevent negative human impacts like poaching, overgrazing and unsustainable collection of wild crops. Pursuing this objective FPWC maintains a permanently manned ranger station in the area which – due to its remoteness - is equipped with solar panels and a wind mill.
In 2010 FPWC the British organization World Land Trust (WLT) has joined the project as long term counseling and supporting partner. Since its foundation in 1989 the World Land Trust has been working to preserve the world's most biologically important and threatened lands, and has helped purchase and protect over 161.000 hectares of habitats rich in wild life, in Asia, Central and South America and the UK. FPWC is the only partner of WLT in the South-Caucasus region. Another partner in the project is the IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands (IUCN NL). 2011 IUCN NL supported the lease of 839 hectares land for the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge in the frame of its “Small grants for the Purchase of Nature” program funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery.
FPWC’s Caucasus Wildlife Refuge has also a positive impact on the development of the involved communities by attracting additional project funds. Currently FPWC sets up in the area the “Urtsadzor Eco-Training Center”. This project is funded by the Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme. The Eco-Training Center aims to raise the local population’s capacity to use the area’s biodiversity resources sustainably. Moreover, as the village population suffers from poverty and migration due to lacking job opportunities, the Center will offer training courses focused on methods to generate income based on environmentally friendly approaches and nature conservation.
With the support of the Small Grant Program of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs FPWC develops ecotourism facilities in the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge such as hiking and horseback riding trails, a modest camping area, and a bed & breakfast in Urtsadzor.
Read more about FPWC's Caucasus Wildlife Refuge….