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06 10 31 - WWF proteggerà i leopardi nei territori del Caucaso (10-12 leopardi in Armenia... )
Kapan, October 31, Armenpress: Arthur Khoyetsian from the Armenian office of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said the office has planned a set of measures for the next year as part of a bigger project aimed to help Caucasian leopards.<BR>
Some 10-12 leopards are believed to live in Armenian forests, mainly in the southern province of Syunik and in central Ararat province. The total number of leopards in the South Caucasus is about 20-24, with another 10-12 in Azerbaijan and Georgia. Some 5-7 leopards are thought to live also in Nagorno-Karabakh forests. Khoyetsian said four-wheel cars, binoculars and other equipment were given to special anti-poaching groups of local residents in these provinces and special classes were conducted for rural schoolchildren.<BR>
The leopard is included in the Red Data Book of Rare and Endangered Species (Red Book) in all countries of this region and in the UNEP-WCMC Database on Threatened Animals of the World. Several years ago the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) started a special project for protection of leopards in Armenia. The leopard was thought to have disappeared from the region in the 1960s, but absence of special surveys until the end of 20th century did not allow to exactly evaluate the leopard condition in the Ecoregion.<BR>
The situation with the leopard population in the Caucasus is critical, which is caused by the continuation of over hunting of ungulates (bezoar goat, roe deer, wild boar, etc.) - primary prey species, and poaching of the leopard itself. The long-term goal of this project is conservation of the Caucasus leopard in its historical range in the Ecoregion.<BR>
Khoyetsian said WWF Armenian Office will bring next year red deers, which are on the verge of extinction in Armenia, from Georgia to resettle them in Armenian forests.<BR>


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