Reintroducing the Goitered Gazelle, Azerbaijan’s once lost wildlife heritage

Advocating for wildlife conservation, IDEA has taken five endangered animals of Azerbaijan under its supervision – the “Big Five” project: the Goitered Gazelle, the Caucasian Leopard, the Imperial Eagle, the Brown Bear and the Grey Wolf, implementing a number of measures to protect each of them. The transboundary efforts on “Reintroduction of the Goitered Gazelle” were launched to increase the population of gazelles (Gazella subgutturosa) in the region by resettling them into their natural habitats.

 

Goitered Gazelle Photo: Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan

Goitered Gazelle 

In the early 20th century up to 60,000 gazelles grazed in the plains of Azerbaijan but suffered drastic reductions in population later. Over the years this graceful animal with slender horns had been hunted and its habitat had shrunk due to intensive exploitation of the grasslands, with cascading effect to the entire ecosystem. An official aerial monitoring recorded less than 200 gazelle individuals in 1961.

Luckily, the status of the Goitered Gazelle in Azerbaijan has rebounded from the brink of extinction and is now steadily growing, as a result of reintroduction project undertaken by IDEA Campaign, Ministry of Ecology and WWF Azerbaijan in the last 5 years. The long-term reintroduction and follow up management conducted in the Protected Areas of Azerbaijan, with subsequent measures to combat illegal hunting and raise awareness, have given the species a great chance to recover and triple its population from 2,000 to 6,000 individuals. They have persisted anthropogenic and climatic factors (lack of precipitation during 2013-2014) and survived in tough conditions, which proves their uniqueness.

IDEA (International Dialogue for Environmental Organization) is an environmental campaign devoted to conservation and improvement of the rich and diverse nature of Azerbaijan and the South Caucasus region. Despite being a relatively young organization - having come into existence only in 2011 – IDEA has successfully implemented a considerable amount of programs targeted at environmental sustainability.

More information: 

Sabina Gasimova, International Dialogue for Environmental Action 

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