The World Land Trust (WLT) is pleased to announce that our first ranger to be sponsored by funds raised for Keepers of the Wild is Manuk Manukyan, from Armenia. Manuk is 33 year’s old and has been a key member of our partner organisation, Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC), since it was first established in 2001.
Manuk is a veterinary graduate and one of the most experienced nature guides in the country. He lives in the local village of Urtsadzor, in the southwest Ararat region, and is currently working in the field for FPWC’s Caucasus Wildlife Refuge project.
This project protects a vital 1,084 acre (439 hectare) parcel of land next to the Khosrov reserve, which is home to a native subspecies of wild goat, the Bezoar. Because of overhunting the numbers of Bezoar goat have fallen dramatically in the area and, as well as causing conservation concern for the goat species, there is also concern for the survival of its predator, the Leopard, which is now one of the rarest species in the region.
Manuk is also the coordinator of the Sun Child Eco-club, a community group that works with FPWC on the buffer zone project. Encouraging the local community to become involved in conservation is an important part of FPWC’s work. One of the ways they achieve this is through filmmaking campaigns that raise awareness of the environmental issues affecting the country. Manuk has played an important part in these campaigns, helping create 30 wildlife films. FPWC spread their message by taking part in film festivals, running education programmes, and organising tree planting events.
Funds from the Keepers of the Wild appeal will ensure that Manuk can continue to work for FPWC, greatly helping with their on-the-ground conservation work. FPWC said: “Manuk is an excellent wildlife expert and knows the territory by heart."
These funds will enable FPWC to pay Manuk’s salary for a year and also purchase some urgently needed resources like good quality hiking boots, binoculars, and even a horse. FPWC said: “A horse is needed as the territory is steep and very rocky and parts of it can only be efficiently controlled by a guard on horseback. This territory can only be protected against intruding poachers, loggers and overgrazing by rangers who are guarding it continuously.” Manuk’s adventures as a Keeper of the Wild will be published on the website soon.