“These noble animals are under the threat of extinction,” Karen Manvelyan said, adding that only 5-7 leopards remain in Armenia today.
According to him, the main reason leading to the leopards’ extinction is poaching.
“Illegal hunting of rare species registered in the Armenian Red Data Book (RDBA), including Bezoar ibex, Armenian Mouflon sheep, and leopard, has not ceased,” Manvelyan said. He added that even the brown bear is hunted out of season.
Manvelyan believes poaching can be solved by creating nature conservation areas.
The conservationist said that Armenia’s recent decision to create two conservation areas in southern Armenia–Arevik National Park and Zangezur Sanctuary–might solve the problem of rare species extinction.
He said that more than 1,500 types of plants, including 24 registered in the RDBA and 19 endemics, around 245 species of vertebrates, including 49 registered in the RDBA and 12 in the IUCN Red Data List are located in the Arevik National Park.
Zangezur Sanctuary has also become an important conservation park for rare and threatened flora and fauna.