Gazelle comes back to its historical homeland | WWF

Gazelle comes back to its historical homeland

Posted on
23 February 2011
 The story of Gazelle in the Caucasus is sad indeed. Less then just a century ago herds of Gazelles were happily pasturing on meadows and foothills of the southern Caucasus. When looking from historical perspective the reality is simply unbelievable: livestock of Gazelles, dwelling in the eastern Caucasus during first half of last century, declined from 50-60 thousand to 200 specimens in 60’s. The main cause for such a dramatic decline of Gazelle populations remains hunting; but not much less harm was done by extensive exploitation of surrounding valleys and poaching leading to almost total extinction of this charismatic animal in the Caucasus.
During last decade the area of protected territories in Azerbaijan increased almost twice including historical dwelling places of the Gazelle; thus making return of these beautiful animals a possible reality. The group of experts evaluated possibilities of resettling Gazelle to potential distribution areas.
WWF provided methodological and technical support to the project. In December 2010 the project was officially launched with participation of country’s president Mr. Ilham Aliyev.
Presently, about 60 specimens are re-introduced in three areas, most favorable of which is the Adjinour area additionally opening interesting opportunities for trans-boundary cooperation between Azerbaijan and Georgia. Soon the Vashlovani national park (Georgia), situated just on the opposite side from Adjinour area at the bank of riv. Alazani, will accommodate first herd of Gazelles to be introduced from Turkey. This process is also interesting from the scientific point of view.
We sincerely hope that in this ever changing and transforming world our Gazelles will find their sweet home so cruelly destroyed by man before and so subtle to re-build now, after just a century of anticipation. Can we promise our children spectacular view of steppe embracing the peacefully pasturing Gazelles?
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