“Conservation of Threatened Reptiles of Ararat Valley”

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The endemic value of the arid ecosystem of Ararat Valley and its importance for conservation is essential. The unique stony semi-desert landscape with poorly known endangered plants and animals species is located in the Arax River Valley in southern west region of Armenia. These areas are now devoted to fruit and vegetable crops, flowers, and wineyards. Natural habitats in this zone are thus greatly reduced, and those that remain are threatened because of human activities. In summary, cultivated lands now cover from 80% to 90% of the area, and natural ecosystems have been extensively damaged as a result of agricultural exploitation, including intensive, uncontrolled irrigation, which has led to increasing soil erosion, soil salinity, and pollution. This project was aimed at getting the first-hand knowledge on ecology, distribution and abundance of target critical endangered (Phrynocephalus horvathi, Eremias pleskei) and vulnerable species (Testudo graeca) of reptiles and using it as a background for further conservation-oriented projects. In the framework of the project research activities, environmental education program, capacity building of students was organized. The recommendation for conservation of target species was prepared and submitted to the stakeholders. The project was implemented by members of YBA Conservation and Biodiversity Research Group members and financially supported by The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.

 



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