TODAY.AZ / Society

Ecology Ministry: Permit to hunt gazelles is not issued even for a million

02 November 2016 [14:27] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews


By Amina Nazarli

Gazelles are considered one of the most beauteous animals in the world. Watching the speedy-running and high-jumping gazelles can give an aesthetic pleasure to everyone.

Azerbaijan has been a home habitat for these gentle, but nimble creations since ancient time. Their fossils are found in the South Caucasus in the upper Miocene period, aged about two million years ago.

Jeyran, as it is called here, is a symbol in the country of natural beauty, grace and purity. Today, the country together with nature lovers makes every effort to protect these charismatic species. Over the past decade, the area of protected territories in Azerbaijan has more than doubled to include the historical range of the gazelle, thus making the return of these beautiful animals a possibility. 

However, the gazelle is a protected species in Azerbaijan and are still on the list of endangered species due to poaching.

A license for gazelle hunting in Azerbaijan is not issued even for 1 million manats ($603,000), the Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry reported recently and warned poachers to refrain from hunting gazelles. 

Azerbaijan included gazelles in the Red Book as endangered species in 1989, the ministry said, emphasizing that the hunting of gazelles either in protected areas (reserves, national parks) or in territories of general status is considered a crime.

“ If all projects on protection of gazelles succeed and the number of gazelles exceeds the capacity of areas to feed, then necessary measures can be taken for the regulation of population,” the ministry added.

Less than a century ago, numerous herds of gazelles were grazing in the valleys and foothills of the Southern Caucasus, however humans hunting and a large number of wolves have drastically decreased the number of these charming animals.

Gazelles were on the verge of extinction since the second of the 20th century, a significant increase was recorded in the number of gazelles as a result of activities carried out by the Azerbaijani government in cooperation with animal welfare organizations. The aerial survey conducted in 1960 found 131 gazelles in the territory of Azerbaijan.

Following the establishment of the Shirvan National Park in 2003, a significant growth was recorded in the number of gazelles and their number exceeded 7,000 in the short term.

"As a result of joint efforts of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the IDEA Public Union and the World Wildlife Fund, the project on the protection, reintroduction and restoration of historical habitats of gazelles in Azerbaijan and the South Caucasus is being implemented successfully," the ministry informed.

Within the framework of the project over the past six years, about 170 gazelles were caught in the territory of the Shirvan National Park and released into the Ajinohur-Sarija lowland, Bozdagh mountain range and Agggol and Gobustan plateau.  

Being like a graceful porcelain figurines, gazelles are not spread throughout the world. They are mostly found in arid and semiarid regions of Iran, Afghanistan and western Pakistan, Mongolia and South China, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

URL: http://www.today.az/news/society/155691.html

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