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Closer look: Our work in Georgia

Closer Look: Our work in Georgia. Credit: Gareth Goldthorpe/FFI.
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Written by: Gareth Goldthorpe
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The Georgian Carnivore Conservation Project, originally founded by FFI and NACRES as part of a three-year EU project, has now been handed over in its entirety to NACRES and, through them, continues to work with the Tusheti community on Human-Carnivore Conflict issues. Trials with electric fencing, begun during our partnership, have recently begun to show promising results with reports from shepherds indicating that wolves are actively being stopped from attacking their sheep.

The illegal and unsustainable trade of wildlife in the Caucasus is emerging as a key threat to the region’s biodiversity. Through literature reviews, consultations with NGOs and Government agencies, field surveys and market chain analyses’ FFI carried out an assessment of wildlife trade in Georgia.

Hunting and falconry are important parts of Georgian culture. The most commonly hunted animals are tur, brown bear, chamois, Bezoar goat and roe deer and the consensus is that, in many cases, numbers are declining. The trade in animals and their parts is becoming an important source of income for rural communities and trophies from protected species are openly sold on the streets of Tbilisi. In addition, trade in wild sturgeon, Georgia’s most endangered species, are readily available on the street markets whilst their riverine spawning grounds have all but completely disappeared.

Georgia’s coastline, on the Black Sea, is becoming increasingly developed and fisheries are growing with less regulation than is ideal. FFI is now working with the EU to develop a transboundary Marine Protected Area with Turkey, a key fisheries partner for Georgia.

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Gareth Goldthorpe

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