Armenian wildlife has a wide spectrum of different species of fauna and owns about 65 species of mammals of which some 15 are endangered.
Armenian wildlife would be a great reason to visit Armenia for those who prefer to see the relatively untouched and pristine natural areas as a perfect alternative to standard tourism forms. This kind of travel will provide a tour to destinations where the cultural heritage, flora and fauna will be the major attractions of Armenia.
You wish to avoid the disturbing noise of crowded towns and all the hustle of big cities? Are you looking for a trip to relax in the countryside and be surrounded by spectacular nature with singing birds and clanking rivers? If so, then just stay with us as you are on the right track.
What is like the Wildlife of Armenia?
Given Armenia’s relatively small geographical location, the country’s fauna is quite diverse and owns various habitats originated by the mountainous terrain of the territory.
Overall, the geographical location of Armenia that is at the crossroads of major bio-geographical zones, has contributed to the development of rich biodiversity. It is also noteworthy that Armenia is an important spot for migratory animals. Over 350 varied bird species were recorded in the area of the country.
- It is said that many domesticated animals of the world originated in the territory where Armenia is situated. One of those type of animals is the Armenian mouflon (the predecessor of domesticated sheep).
- However, according to the researches, approximately a quarter of the Armenian wildlife is internationally endangered.
- Furthermore, the mouflons are suffering a great decline in population because of such bad factors as habitat loss and poaching.
- The famed Sevan trout (or as the locals call it “Ishkhan”) is virtually on the brink of extinction.
- In addition, southern and south-western parts of Armenia are the last strongholds of the Persian leopard’s survival in the whole area of Caucasus.
Unfortunately, the main threats to biodiversity are in this or that way linked to human influence. The main threats that minimize the Armenian wildlife are the overuse of biological resources, the loss of living environment, pollution and some other factors.
In general, Armenian wildlife includes a wide range of animals starting from various
- wild boars
- Caucasian bears
- Caucasian bearded goats and snakes
- Different species of birds
Endangered Animal Species of Armenian wildlife
Endangered Species of Armenian Wildlife #1: Caucasian Leopard
As we already mentioned, Caucasian leopard (also known as Persian leopard) is in the list of “endangered” animals in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
It is one of the biggest of the eight sub-species of leopard and, as it is believed, currently there are about 15-20 Caucasian leopards present in Armenia.
The amount of these rare animals has been desolated mainly because of the uncontrolled hunting.
Endangered Species of Armenian Wildlife #2: Syrian Brown Bear
The Syrian brown bear, one of the most prominent representatives of the largest living carnivores, is native to Eurasia. Mainly, their habitat is in the south-eastern part of Armenia, particularly, in Kapan, Sisian, Meghri, Vayk and Goris.
Even though, the number of their concrete population is unknown, it is thought to be about 150 Syrian brown bears in the wild world. Their fur is quite valuable that is sold for large sums of money.
These and some other factors, as habitat loss and poaching are the main reasons for the decline in pray for the Syrian brown bear. Nevertheless, if you want to have a look at those fluffy bears you can just visit Yerevan Zoo and spend a nice time with them.
Endangered Species of Armenian Wildlife #3: Bezoar Goat
Bezoar Ibex, also called Bezoar Goats or Wild Goats are vulnerable type of threatened species. Their horns, that are highly esteemed, have made them a target for trophy hunters.
Since the 1980s there were over 3.500-4.000 of them in the Caucasus, but this number has significantly decreased today.
But if you visit Armenia, you will be lucky enough to see them in the Zoological Garden of Yerevan.
Endangered Species of Armenian Wildlife #4: Caucasian Lynx
The Caucasian lynx, native to Armenia, lives in the regions of Lori, Ararat, Geharqunik, Kotayq, Tavush and Syunik. After the grey wolf and brown bear, the Caucasian lynx is the largest predator in Europe that can kill prey 3 to 4 times its size.
Although these animals are evaluated as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List, they are dramatically decreasing in number because of habitat loss and illegal skin trade.
Anyway, you have the chance to see them not only in the wild but also in the Yerevan Zoo.
National Treasures of Armenian Wildlife
Treasures of Armenian Wildlife #1: Eagles
Throughout the history of human culture eagles have always had a unique importance. The bird was the symbol of victory and strength in antique mythology of Greece.
Furthermore, the eagle was the symbolic bird of the Greek king of the Gods – Zeus. It’s also interesting that after the lion eagles are the animals that are the most used on coat of arms.
Some well-known species of eagles, like the golden eagle and the lesser spotted eagle you will be able to find in the Armenian zoo.
Treasures of Armenian Wildlife #2: Steppe Eagle
The steppe eagle or else known as Aquila nipalensis is comparatively large and rather handsome bird of prey, belonging to the family of Accipitridae.
These migratory birds spend relatively more time on the ground compared to other birds. Remarkable is that they can achieve up to 60 kilometers per hour. Besides when they dive they can gain a speed of 300 kilometers per hour.
Treasures of Armenian Wildlife #3: Eastern Imperial Eagle
This huge bird with the length of 72–90 cm is under threaten of extinction in Europe. The eastern imperial eagle, also called Aquila heliacal, has a wingspan of about 1.8–2.16 m.
It is a famous raptor in Armenian wildlife and generally it feeds on hamsters, pheasants and some other mammals and birds.
Treasures of Armenian Wildlife #4: Armenian Tortoise
Armenian tortoise or in more sophisticated version, Testudo graeca armeniaca, is a subspecies of Mediterranean tortoise. They have yellow and dark brown shells and have 20-23 cm length.
Their population in Armenian wildlife is about a thousand and they are listed in Armenian Red Data Book. Armenian tortoises mainly live in hillsides and in desert and semi-desert areas.
Treasures of Armenian Wildlife #5: Armenian Mountain Viper
The venomous species of snakes, Vipera (Montivipera) raddei, has got its specific name “raddei”. The name is given in honor of German naturalist and explorer Gustav Radde. Their length can grow up to 1 m.
Mostly, the Armenian mountain viper is dark grey, but you can also find black and grey-brown ones with yellow-orange-red backs. Endemic to the Armenian wildlife, the venom of these snakes is deadly dangerous and they can bite if they feel a danger.
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