THE RED BOOK OF ANIMALS OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA

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1 THE RED BOOK OF ANIMALS OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA Dear compatriots, The future and public welfare of our country are directly linked with the splendour and richness of its natural heritage. In the meantime, population growth and accelerating rates of economic and construction development impinge on environmental quality and the status of natural ecosystems with their flora and fauna. In spite of significant efforts undertaken globally and nationally for biodiversity conservation, the world is still hit by unprecedented loss of plant and animal species which puts a further emphasis on the importance of the issue. Each country is responsible for conservation of its biodiversity and sustainable management of its natural resources. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species comprises the lists of rare and threatened plant and animal species and thus contributes to international cooperation for their preservation. This is also an ultimate goal of the Red Data Book of Armenia publication of which has been a landmark event for the nation s conservation, socio-economic life and science. Publishing of the Red Data Book is another step ahead towards the preservation and recovery of the region s biodiversity. Insufficiency of knowledge and information impedes the complex perception of conservation issues. In this context, the Red Data Book will contribute to planning and successful implementation of activities for conservation of rare and threatened wildlife. Derived from the long term work of scientists from research and educational entities, the second edition of the Red Data Book allows everyone to learn about rare and threatened species of plants and animals and to contribute to biodiversity conservation.

2 Each person in our country should make careful attitude to the environment a standard of life and consider conservation of this richness a conscious necessity. Only this way we will be able to hand over our environment to future generations. I N T R O D U C T I ON Aram Harutyunyan Minister of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia Encompassing unique fauna, Armenia represents one of the most interesting areas of the Caucasus. Being a mountainous country with distinct altitudinal zonality, Armenia retains high diversity and endemism of animal species. Armenia is among the important centres of origin of some economically valuable plants and animals. Meantime, ever increasing human pressures on ecosystems and landscapes and the overuse of biological resources have caused a substantial change and even degradation of wildlife habitats, bringing a number of species to the brink of extinction. Many species of the national fauna live in the marginal areas of their global ranges or form isolated populations what further necessitates the importance of their research and conservation. A recent assessment of invertebrates has revealed the presence of about 316 endemic species and over 300 rare and endangered species in Armenia. They encompass the grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, dipterans, molluscs and others. The strong altitudinal zonality of Armenia s landscapes has left its print also on distribution and specific diversity of vertebrates. Many of 53 reptilian species occurring in the country represent the vanishing endemics of the Armenian Highland and the Caucasus. These species include the northern banded newt, steppe runner, parthenogenetic lizards spread in the country s north, Transcaucasian rat snake, black headed rhynchocalamus, Darevsky s viper. Despite the national bird fauna is deprived of endemic species, several dozens of taxa from semi deserts and alpine habitats are classified as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable. The white winged scoter and the boreal owl belong to the relic birds of Armenia. Six mammalian species and 4 fishes are endemic. The most extinction prone species are the leopard Armenian mouflon, bezoar goat, European marbled polecat, Eurasian otter, manul and others. The present Red Data Book of the Republic of Armenia serves to help withstand the dangers faced now by biodiversity and to preserve the rare and endangered species. According to the article 14 of the national law "On fauna", the Red Data Book of the Republic of Armenia is an internationally compliant document compiling information about the status, distribution, ecology, biology, current status and conservation of rare and endangered species. The Red Data Book has been maintained to contribute to census, conservation, recovery, development and application of focused and scientifially justified measures and related awareness raising of population. Information about population decline, range shrinkage, deterioration of living conditions and direct threats to survival suffices to put a species into the Red Data Book.

3 Preparation of this updated Red Data Book has encompassed the up to date information and new field surveys carried out in by the specialists of the Scientific Centre of Zoology and Hydroecology, Yerevan State University and other scientific bodies. Notably, this edition includes also invertebrate animals which were not at all listed in the previous Red Data Book. The status assessment of all species and the assignment of status categories were done in full compliance with the internationally recognised criteria developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN, , ver. 3.1). The process of evaluation also included the analysis of new knowledge that stockpiled during the 20 years that elapsed after the last Red Data Book. According to the regulations imposed on preparation of the Red Data Book of the RA, the draft version of this book was considered at the session of the Red Data Book Preparation Council and has received its positive resolution. On January 29, 2010 the Red Data Book of Animals of the RA was endorsed by the Government of the RA through its decision 71 N. The following status categories are assigned to the species listed in this Red Data Book: 1. Extinct species (EX). The taxon is considered extinct if there is no doubt that its last individual has disappeared. The taxon is assessed as extinct if continuous research within the known and/or tentative habitats throughout all historical range in different time frames (seasonal, annual, daily) did not record a single individual. 2. Regionally extinct species (RE). The taxon is considered regionally extinct if there is no doubt that its last individual in the region has disappeared. If the taxon used to regularly penetrate into the region in the past, it has also been reckoned regionally extinct provided the last individual has vanished from the region s wild. 3. Critically endangered species (CR). The taxon is critically endangered if, at the highest probability, it fits any of the criteria (A E) applicable to the category Critically Endangered and faces the highest imminent risk of extinction in the wild. 4. Endangered species (EN). The species is endangered if, at the highest probability, it fits any of the criteria (A E) applicable to the category Endangered and faces a very high risk of extinction in the wild. 5. Vulnerable (VU). The species is vulnerable if, at the highest probability, it fits any of the criteria (A E) applicable to the category Vulnerable and faces a high risk of extinction in the wild. 6. Data Deficient (DD). The taxon belongs to the category Data Deficient if available information on its population size and/or distribution is not sufficient to assess, directly or indirectly, the status of this taxon. The taxon of this category can be well studied and its biology can be well known, but information about its abundance and/or distribution does not suffice to judge about its status. The category "Data Deficient" does not represent the threat category. Assignment of this category to a taxon urges for more intense research and admits that further investigations may entitle this taxon to hold any other status category listed above. Reconsideration of the status of the species listed in the previous Red Data Book takes into account their distribution in Armenia (with a database created for each species) and in the world, taxonomic changes, levels of real risk of extinction, and others. The book covers 153 species of vertebrates, including 7 species of bony fishes (Osteichthyes), 2 species of amphibians (Amphibia), 19 species of reptiles (Reptilia), 96 species of birds (Aves) and 29 species of mammals (Mammalia).

4 For the first time this edition also lists 155 species of invertebrates, of which there are 16 gastropods and 139 insects. Each species name is provided in Latin, Armenian, Russian and English. Its species account comprises the status, brief description of the assessment, brief description of the species, distribution (including the areas of occurrence), ecological and biological traits, major threats, actual and proposed conservation measures. Contemporary advancements in taxonomy are taken into account. Each species account contains an adult s image and a distribution map (dots or polygon). New edition of the Red Data Book represents an important official document and a guide towards the efficient conservation of Armenia s unique fauna which demands for the large scale work on the improvement of legislative background, implementation of population monitoring, early detection of imminent threats, and development of the regional strategy of genetic resources conservation. Ministry of Nature Protection of the RA expresses its deep gratitude to compilers of the species accounts presented in the Red Data Book, to all specialists, scientists, representatives of governmental and non governmental organizations who have contributed their efforts and knowledge to preparation of this book, and to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Armenian branch, UN Development Programme (UNDP) and to German Society for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) for financial support provided for preparation and publishing of the Red Data Book. GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA DECREE N o 71 N, 29 January 2010 ON APPROVAL OF THE RED BOOK OF ANIMALS OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA According to the item G, article 5, of the law "On Fauna" of the Republic of Armenia, the Government of the Republic of Armenia decides: 1. To approve the Red Book of Animals of the Republic of Armenia according to the Annex; 2. Within the fi rst month of the effectiveness of the present Decree, the Minister of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia shall submit for approval by Prime Minister of the

5 Republic of Armenia the schedule of submission of draft legal acts on making amendments and changes in relevant legal acts in order to bring them into compliance with the Red Book of Animals of the Republic of Armenia; 3. The present Decree comes into effect on the 10th day of its offi cial promulgation. Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia T. Sargsyan 5 February 2010 Yerevan Web design by Margarita Bazukyan

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