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Georgia establishes new national park in the Caucasus Mountains


23 Jun 2006
Tbilisi, Georgia – Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has approved the creation of a new national park in the Caucasus Mountains.

The new Mtirala National Park, covering 15,806ha, will protect a unique ecosystem of forests and wildlife in Georgia’s eastern part of the Black Sea Basin in the west Lesser Caucasus mountain range.

These ecosystems are a rich storehouse of biodiversity with numerous important species, incuding lynx and brown bear, as well as the golden eagle, black vulture and falcon. There are also several endemic species such as the Caucasian salamander.

The Caucasus Mountains — made up of two separate mountain ranges, the Greater Caucasus and the Lesser Caucasus — straddle Europe and Asia, crossing through parts of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, northeastern Turkey, and a small part of northwestern Iran.

“Although the natural integrity of this protected site is largely intact, some areas are threatened by overgrazing, fuelwood collection, and is potentially at risk from agricultural expansion and uncontrolled land use development,” said Nuzgar Zazanashvili, Conservation Director of WWF’s Caucasus Programme.

WWF provided technical assistance in drafting the government bill that established the Mtirala National Park. The global conservation will continue to work with local and regional authorities in developing a management plan for the new park, which includes promoting and implementing sustainable conservation measures that are compatible with other land uses.

“Additionally to its conservation importance, the park offers good opportunities for eco-tourism and environmental education and a wide range of recreational opportunities in some of the zoned areas" added Giorgi Sanadiradze, Director of the WWF Caucasus Programme.


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