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: email@example.com