Connecting Birds and People

Armash Wetlands Refuge

INTRODUCTION

This network of wetlands remains one of the biggest and most important stopover points for migratory birds in Caucasus region for more than 40 years. At the same time it hosts a significant number of threatened birds protected both nationally and globally. The land is privately owned and it is therefore important to change the conservation status of the land. Also this area provides with the wide range of opportunities for scientific research, education, and public outreach.   

OBJECTIVES

  1. To change the status of the land from non-protected into protected. 
  2. To set up mutually beneficial cooperation with the owners of the place.
  3. To convert the place into safest wetland area for breeding waterbirds and stopover point for migratory species.
  4. To develop the area into a center of bird migrations' study and an educational spot for beginner birdwatchers 

WHEN, WHERE, AND HOW IS IMPLEMENTED

To change its conservation status, we have initiated its inclusion in the networks of Emerald Sites and Key Biodiversity Areas, and went further: negotiated with the Bio-resources Management Agency and the focal point of Bern Convention our leading role in development of the management plan for Armash Wetland Refuge for the next 5 years. 

Another important step was signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Armash fish-farm LLC in accordance to which the Administration supports our study of birds, significantly decreases the sport hunting in the area, completely stops shooting of fish-eating birds among its staff and secures easy entrance for the members of Armenian Birdwatching Association. We, in our turn, support popularization of the area as the best birdwatching destination for tourists and at the same time we help to enhance reputation of the local producer, among general public, as a bird-friendly company.

Our surveys of Armash wetlands during breeding and migration seasons helped to reveal possible breeding of Spur-winged Plover (new for Armenia), an increase of White-headed Duck’s population along with other 127 other breeding species. Also an intensive migration of over 10,000 individuals of 182 bird species was recorded in just 12 days of observation. In addition, Armash Wetlands are the reference area in the pilot project “calculation of the number of populations of waterfowl game birds” and an invaluable source of data for the initiative of “Armenian National Bird Monitoring".

 

It is difficult to overestimate the role of Armash Wetland Refuge for conservation education, since this place provides excellent bird watching opportunities for beginner birdwatchers. That is why, over the past year we have conducted several events: International Bird Day, Global Big Day, Euro-birdwatch and the International Waterbird Census in this spectacular place.

WHO AND HOW CAN PARTICIPATE

The volunteers can be involved into the monitoring and ringing works of Armash Wetlands refuge, and start that though participation in the international events. As in all our activities, there are works for the professionals and the beginners. The first step though is to become a Member of the organization and to receive the necessary training for the new volunteers.