Conservation of the Capra Species in Georgia

Donor: Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund
(CEPF)/WWF Caucasus office
Project Implementation Period: 2005 - 2006

If you visit old sanctuaries in the mountainous regions of Georgia, you can find the horns of turs on the altars there. A tur was traditionally considered as a sacred animal in our country. Hunters did sacrifice tur horns to the divine thus asking for mercy and good luck. Tur hunting had the rules of its own based on the long established traditional relations between man and nature. No hunter was allowed to shoot a sleeping tur. Shooting more than three turs in one turn was considered to be an unforgivable sin. Though these rules were gradually forgotten.

During the second half of the 19th century the impact of human disturbance strongly affected tur numbers in Georgia. Rapid increase of poaching caused by complicated economic conditions in the end of the 20th century also posed a serious threat to tur population.

Two species of tur are found in Georgia: East Caucasian (Capra cylindricornis) and West Caucasian (Capra caucasica). The Great Caucasus is the only habitat inhabited by turs. According to the archeological data, the existence of tur population critically endangered in the 21st century dates back to Paleolithic times.

Within the frames of the project, ?Conservation of the Capra species in Georgia?, NACRES made a survey of all existed scientific and other reports on the species concerned. We conducted fieldwork studies in four locations within the species range (Svaneti, Tusheti, Khevsureti and lagodekhi nature reserves). Thus, meta-population and population/habitat viability analysis was implemented. We made an assessment of the population and its habitat as well as revealed the risk factors for the Capra species: hunting/poaching, pasturage, uncontrolled tourism.

Hunting is considered to be a major risk factor. Unfortunately, vandal hunting from helicopters became very frequent recently.

On the basis of the collected data, NACRES developed a status report on both species (this status report will be published in the nearest future) and a draft of Conservation Action Plan of Caprinae Species of Georgia. NACRES organized a special seminar to introduce the Conservation Action Plan draft to the target groups, to define appropriate measures and thus to create an upgraded version of the plan.

In addition, we expect to have completed a National Proposal for the inclusion of Capra caucasica and Capra cylindricornis in Appendices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS or Bonn Convention), which will be submitted to the CMS Secretariat.

For detailed information please contact Natia Kopaliani, the project coordinator: natia.kopaliani@nacres.org

 

 

Contact Information: Mailing Address - 0179 Tbilisi-Georgia
Courier Address - 12a Abashidze Street, 0179 Tbilisi, Georgia. - Tel: (+995-32) 23 37 06 - Fax: (+995-32) 53 71 24
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All photos were taken by members of NACRES staff

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