WWF ADVOCATES LEGALIZATION OF HUNTING IN ARMENIA

ArmInfo News Agency, Armenia
Nov 30 2006

Every year poachers kill about 300 bezoar goats, 30 bears and 15
moufflons on the territory of Armenia. All these animals are registered
in the International Red Book, Karen Manvelyan, the representative
of the Caucasian Office of the World Wildlife Fund in Armenia, told
an ArmInfo correspondent.

For an efficient fight against poaching, the Armenian Government has
worked out a draft law regulating hunting and activity of hunting
grounds. The first public hearings of the draft law took place in the
Yerevan office of Arhus Ecology Center. In K.Manvelyan's opinion,
Armenia needs a legal document not only to regulate the hunting
activity, but also organize the protection of wild animals. He
said that some items of the bill don't comply with international
standards. In the global practice, hunting grounds are created near
reserved zones making hunters interested in protecting objects of
hunting and organizing a struggle against poaching.

The draft law doesn't stipulate the quantity of rare kinds of
animals, hunting of which will be allowed for trophy or scientific
reasons. In the global practice, this quantity is 0.3-0.5% of the
general population of animals. 50% of funds received from the trophy
hunting should be spent on recovery of the animal's population. The
draft law should also provide for the inventory of animals which was
held in Armenia 40 years ago. According to the WWF estimation, the
livestock of some species of wild animals in Armenia is no more than
250, so the hunting of them should be forbidden. The share of reserved
zones on the territories of national parks is underestimated in the
draft law, according to international standards, it should be no less
than 75% of the park's territory. If all the proposals are taken into
account, it will be possible to decrease the risks of corruption in
the regional ecology inspections which shut their eyes to the poaching
by high ranking officials. We are not against the law on hunting and
hunting grounds, as forbidden fruit is sweet, K.Manvelyan said.