The research of wolves in the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge

Saakje Hazenberg, the ecological integrity monitoring expert of the Jasper National Park in Canada, has done a research on the number and distribution of the wolves, as well as other related issues in the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge by the invitation of the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets.

The research goal was to determine the movement of the wolves’ groups, their direction, the reasons for leaving their nesting grounds and their approach to the human settlements.

In 2011, the Government of the Republic of Armenia approved the decision on “The regulation of the number of wolves and establishment of the measures for the procedural implementation, and allocation of the funds to the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia“, according to which, the hunting of the wolves is financially encouraged.

As a result of the research, the main observation of the expert was that the annihilation of the wolves with the purpose of the regulation of their number can lead to irrevocable consequences, in particular, to their elimination in Armenia. The practice of the regulation of the wolves’ number by the annihilation of these animals was implemented and recognized as an ineffective one in several countries, often leading to extremely negative consequences. The similar project implemented in the US Yellowstone National Park is a well-known precedent. It caused the grey wolves classed endangered status, and then completely extinct. Now there are wolves in Yellowstone again only after the national resettlement program implemented in 1995.

The FPWC will use the results of Hazenberg’s research in specially protected areas by the use of scientifically proven and modern mechanisms in order to improve the habitat of wolves and with the purpose to reduce the biodiversity species extinction as a result of the human-wildlife conflict.

Saakje Hazenberg has more than 10 years of wildlife monitoring experience, specializing in back-tracking of wolves and other carnivores.

The wolves usually leave their dens with their families for winter trips, sometimes passing more than 100 km of spaces. These animals usually live in pair, but during the late autumn and winter you can see them in packs.

The gray wolves (Canis lupus) are usually spotted in the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge. The wolves don’t mind sharing their territory with people, but when their habitat is changing because of the human intervention, and the hunting is no longer possible in these areas, the packs start to move forward, their search of food often brings them to the human settlements, chasing and hunting the cattle.

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