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Study visit to “Lake Arpi ” NP and natural heritage areas

On August 30 Yerevan Aarhus Center, jointly with the RA NAS Geological Museum organized a study visit to “Lake Arpi” national park areas and natural monuments.
The group consisting of students, Geological museum eco-club members, Yerevan Aarhus Center volunteers and individual citizens passed the long way to “Lake Arpi” with interesting findings.
First the coordinator of the Yerevan Aarhus Centre introduced to the participants the categories of the specially protected natural areas (SPNA), their protection regimes, as well as conservation purposes. She particularly noted that main goal of the SPNA is to ensure the conservation of natural ecosystems of the specially protected natural areas, biodiversity and landscapes, natural heritage’s normal development.

She also noted that the SPNAs in Armenia are currently classified into 4 categories according to the relevant protection regimes; Reserves, National parks, Nature reserves and Natural monuments.

Mrs. Gayane Grigoryan, director of the RA NAS geological museum, lecturer of the subject Inventory of the natural geological monuments in Armenia of Yerevan Architectural University “Geo-Ecology” department, spoke about the RA natural monuments and their conservation issues. She noted that currently 106 geological, 48 hydrogeological, 40 hydrographic, 17 natural and 21 biological monuments are included in the list of the RA natural monuments. Mrs. Grigoryan added that the area occupied by the natural monument bans any activity that threatens its preservation. On the way, on the left side of Yerevan-Gyumri highway, between the towns of Maralik and Lanjik the participant of the eco campaign stopped and got acquainted with the “Turtle” natural stone sculpture registered in the RA natural monuments list and held a monitoring in the territory. The disturbing fact was that the sculpture was carved underneath, but for what purpose is unknown, but it is believed that it was done with the purpose of displacing the sculpture. It was decided to apply to the RA Ministry of Nature Protection resources conservation agency in order to ensure the protection of sculpture.

Then, by prior arrangement, Ara Petrosyan, the director of “Arpi Lake” National Park welcomed the participants and led to the national park. Here the way was also full of revelation the participants from time to time stopped and got acquainted with the peculiarities of the area. Mr. Ara Petrosyan enthusiastically represented the characteristics and the history of the area. According to him, more than 670 species of plants, of which 22 are found only in this area and are considered as endemic species listed in the Red Book of Armenia, have been discovered in this area. 30 species of mammals, among which there are rare species, the otter and the khaytakise, can be met here. About 200 species of birds have been found in the area, 40 of them are registered in the RA Red Book. 4 types of lizards and 5 types of snakes are also known here. Special interests represents Darevski viper, which is in danger of extinction.

In addition to the peculiarities of the NP area fauna and flora Lake Arpi itself is a huge amount of water resource. Western part of the lake drainage basin serves as the main source of irrigation water, as well as drinking water source of some of the region’s cities, including the provincial Gyumri city.

The director of the NP noted that the Ministry of Nature Protection, German WWF and the Armenian offices had a great contribution for the creation and preservation of the park. The participants saw some types of birds and plants encountered in that area, had great impressions from the wildlife unique miracle Lake Arpi and considered the organization of such cognitive visits purposeful.

Silva Ayvazyan
Coordinator of Yerevan Aarhus Center
Tel: (+374) 91 81 60 55
E-mail: info@aarhus.am
Translated by Marine Mazmanyan
Photos by Anahit Grigoryan