On December 15, the official opening ceremony of the Wildlife Rescue Center took place in the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge, managed by the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC). The center has a new mission: rescue Red Listed brown bears after the rescue of the lions of Gyumri Zoo.
A clinic was built near the center, which occupies more than 1 hectare territory. After the full accomplishment of the construction, there will be possible to ensure continuous day round control for the rescued or transported bears, professional care and further rehabilitation. The center can provide 30 bears with shelter.
The research conducted by the foundation in 2017 shows that more than 60 Red-Listed bears are held captive in the territory of Armenia. The animals are kept in manmade cages in the areas adjacent to restaurants, gas-petrol stations, hotels, private constructions, as well as in the yards of private mansions for entertainment without any veterinarian care, proper nutrition or conditions necessary to the species.
The center acquired a properly equipped rescue van, necessary equipment, veterinary surgical instruments, and medicine to organize the transportation and care of bears. It has also hired staff trained for that purpose.
The rescued bears will go through all the stages of treatment and adaptation in the center, after which in some cases, several animals will be returned to the nature, such as the two bear cubs found in Lori region without their mother.
The other part of the bear rescue project has been realized owing to the assistance of Yerevan Zoo, where currently10 rescued bears go through rehabilitation process.
One of the upcoming projects of the center is the rescue, rehabilitation and reproduction of the Caucasian leopards, included in the Armenian Red List.
VivaCell-MTS General Manager Ralph Yirikian and FPWC Fonder Ruben Khachatryan participated in the opening ceremony of the center.
“It is the high time for us to understand that being detached from their natural environment is stressful for animals. Furthermore, the improper care creates real threat for both the animal and people. Caring of an animal is not only about feeding it: there are things which only professionals are able to handle. This center created owing to the cooperation will have an important role in preventing the negative consequences of this phenomenon,” said VivaCell-MTS General Manager Ralph Yirikian.
“The FPWC aims to rescue 60-80 captive Red Listed brown bears in the upcoming years. This initiative would have been impossible to implement without state agencies, particularly, without the direct intervention of the Ministry of Nature Protection of the RA, Nature Protection State Inspectorate, and the Ministry of Emergency Situations. We are grateful to Yerevan Municipality for the construction of Yerevan Zoo’s bears’ and wolves’ expansive enclosure. Without all that it would have been impossible to initiate such a large-scale project․ One of the directions of the center will be breeding and reintroduction of Red listed vultures,” said FPWC Founder Ruben Khachatryan.
Owing to the cooperation between the FPWC and the Ministry of Nature protection of the RA the Law on Wildlife of the RA is being redrafted. The legal part of the resolution of the issue will be ensured in case of the full application of the mentioned law’s provisions.
The construction of the Bear Rescue and Rehabilitation Center became possible owing to the joint efforts of the FPWC’s general partners VivaCell-MTS, International Animal Rescue, ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo, and the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia.