In Armenia the Caucasian Red Deer (Cervus elaphus maral) was widespread in the late 19th century and occurred in significant numbers in northern and southern forests including Dilijan National Park, Bargushat and Zangezur Ridge. For the longest time red deer had survived in Meghri, Bargushat and Zangezur ridges in the Syunik Province and became locally extinct only in the 1950s. Nowadays some individuals from time to time appear in Dilijan National Park. The species is included in the Red Data Book of Armenia (2010) as critically endangered (CR).
WWF-Armenia with RA Ministry of Nature Protection and with the financial support of CNF, TJS, WWF-Germany, Orange Armenia and HSBC Bank Armenia as well as the fundraising support of Prometey Bank implements a project on reintroducing the Caucasian Red Deer in Armenia to set up a breeding group of the species in Dilijan National Park.
The project activities include preparation of a breeding center in Dilijan National Park, purchase and transportation of 4 male and 11 female deer to Armenia, training of the breeding center staff, keeping and breeding of animals with further release and monitoring of the released animals in the nature.
- To establish a Breeding Centre including an enclosure for the Red Deer in the area of 10 ha in Dilijan National Park
- To recruit and train a staff for the Red Deer Breeding Centre
- To obtain and transfer 15 individuals of Red Deer from abroad to Dilijan National Park, Armenia
- To organize the first release of the bred red deer in Dilijan National Park
- To start protection and monitoring of the released animals in Dilijan National Park
- The Breeding Centre including the enclosure for the Red Deer in the area of 10 ha in Dilijan National Park
- Trained staff for the Red Deer Breeding Centre
- 15 obtained individuals of Red Deer in the breeding center
- At least 10 released red deer in Dilijan National Park
- The proper protection and monitoring of the released animals in Dilijan National Park