WWF’s long term support to the Zangazur NP results in restoration of the leopard reproductive nucleus
Zangazur mountainous range of Nakhchyvan Autonomous Republic is considered as the most significant distribution area of leopard in the South Caucasus. There are four protected areas on the territory of Nakhchyvan AR, covering 27% of the total land area.
Protection of leopards and its main prey species such as bezoar goat and mouflon has led to increase in their population size. Currently, population of leopards consists of five adults and three sub-adult individuals in Nakhchyvan AR – the biggest population in the post-soviet South Caucasus. To strengthen the protection measures in the protected areas, WWF-Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Nakhchyvan AR have agreed on the WWF donation of the equipment and vehicle to the Zangazur National Park named after academician Hasan Aliyev in the frame of WWF-Caucasus project on the Leopard Conservation in the Southern Caucasus.
According to the agreement, WWF-Azerbaijan has donated one Lada-Niva off-road vehicle, three horses with saddles, few binoculars, GPS, handheld lights, back bags and first aid kits. Donation ceremony was held on April 6, 2017 at Zangazur NP in Boyakhmad village, Julfa District, Nakhchyvan AR. The Minister of the MENR of Nakhchyvan AR Hafiz Yaqubov, the director of the Institute of Bioresources of Nakhchyvan AR Prof. Tariyel Talibov, the Director of Zangazur National Park Aydin Huseynov and ZNP staff, and WWF-Azerbaijan project coordinator Elmira Maharramova has participated in the event.
The Minister of the MENR of Nakhchyvan AR Hafiz Yaqubov has mentioned that, as a result of the targeted measures carried out in Nakhchyvan AR, the populations of Caucasian leopards and their prey - bezoar goats and mouflons have been increased. Since 2001, due to the ban on hunting in autonomic republic the number of these rare species increased.