The Caucasus Wildlife Refuge (CWR) was established by the FPWC on Y2010, as a Privately Protected Area (PPA). Currently its area is about 30,000 hectares, besides being a crucial habitat for a range of endangered species, it is a part of wildlife migration corridor in southern Armenia. It stretches from Nakhijevan (Azerbaijan) boarder to Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) through Ararart and Vayots Dzor provinces. It is an important part of the South-Caucasian biodiversity hotspot. Charismatic species like Persian Leopard are spotted in CWR. According to IUCN Red list, about only 8-13 individuals of the Persian Leopard are left in Armenia.
The wildlife is continuously monitored by 13 rangers and trap cameras. The wildlife in the area was seriously endangered, mainly due to poaching, overgrazing and logging. The trap camera footages now, show the increase in the number of wildlife, it’s even noticeable to observers by naked eye. Critically endangered spices like Persian Leopard, Armenian Mouflon are secure in CWR. Around 180 species of birds find important sources of food in CWR and nest within the boundaries or nearby. Some of the oldest Juniper forests surviving in Armenia, are located in the territory of CWR.
The land space of the CWR is registered in World Database of Protected Areas (WDPA), as well as at the National Strategy plan for the Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA). According to IUCN PA categorization system, the CWR matches to the Category VI: “Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources, protected areas that conserve ecosystems and habitats, together with associated cultural values and traditional natural resource management systems.”
FPWC has also set up three Eco-Centers in the refuge, the Urtsadzor Eco-Lodge, the Rangers’ Campus and the Gnishik Eco-Lodge. They are not only accommodation places for eco-tourists, but they also serve as scientific hubs for scientists working on their researches and studies. The centers also provide trainings on various topics for the local community members, aimed at the sustainable use of the area’s unique natural resources.
FPWC currently develops touristic infrastructure in the area to promote eco-tourism in CWR and draw the attention of larger audience to the Armenian’s unique biodiversity. The income generated from eco-tourism is redirected back into the conservation of the area’s unique flora and fauna.
Best Shots From CWR
These cameras have been installed in the CWR by the generous support of VivaCell-MTS.
Connecting these cameras to a network tremendously improves wildlife monitoring, providing remote access from the ranger station and from the FPWC office in Yerevan. For example, the FPWC staff could react immediately if a rare animal species is detected by a camera in a certain area. Poachers as well as any other illegal intruders in the CWR could be detected and chased on the spot, and wildfires could be detected earlier.
Wildlife Monitoring with Newest Technologies
Remote wildlife monitoring
Real-time video streaming from CWR
Rare images captured by motion-controlled GPS cameras
EcoTraining Center Expands Scientific Research
A hub scientific research
A home for wildlife observers
A space for building local capacity
Local rangers, Local tourism, Local produce