Monday, November 16, 2009

Armenian leopards almost completely extinct in wild

YEREVAN, November 16 (RIA Novosti) - Only five to seven leopards remain in the wild in Armenia, Novosti-Armenia news agency reported, citing the Armenian director of the World Wildlife Fund.

"These noble animals are under the threat of extinction," Karen Manvelyan said.

According to him, the main reason leading to the leopards' extinction is poaching.

"Illegal hunting of rare species registered in the Armenian Red Book, including Bezoar ibex, Armenian mouflon sheep, and leopard, has not ceased," Manvelyan said. He added that even the brown bear is hunted out of season.

Manvelyan believes poaching can be solved by creating nature conservation areas.

The conservationist said that Armenia had recently made a historical decision by creating two conservation areas in southern Armenia. Arevik National Park and Zangezur Sanctuary might solve the problem of rare species extinction, he said.

He said that more than 1,500 types of plants, including 24 registered in the Red Data Book of Armenia and 19 endemics, around 245 species of vertebrates, including 49 registered in the RDBA and 12 in the IUCN Red Data List are located in the Arevik National Park.

Zangezur Sanctuary has also become an important conservation park for rare and threatened flora and fauna.


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