More than 1,200 acres (500 hectares) of pristine Caucasus habitat, home to leopards, lynx, bears and wolves, has been affected by a fire, which is being fought by conservationists, soldiers and volunteers. World Land Trust (WLT) is launching an emergency fund to support the firefighting efforts and minimise the damage to this world-class reserve before it is too late.
The fire began from an unknown source in the neighbouring Khosrov State Reserve, where it burned through 600 acres (250 hectares) and has now entered the neighbouring reserve managed by WLT partner Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC).
More than 2,000 rangers, soldiers and volunteers are currently in the field trying to stop the spread of the fire, in the blazing summer heat with limited firefighting resources, food and water. WLT’s Action Fund, a fund supported by WLT Friends which gives WLT the flexibility to direct money where it is most urgently needed, is providing €5,000 to support the purchase and rental of equipment needed immediately.
Wildlife of the Caucasus
The Caucasus Wildlife Refuge (CWR) protects a unique and ecologically important habitat between the continents of Europe and Asia. Most of the habitat is grass and scrubland, though there are areas of forest, which would suffer the greatest damage, should the fire continue to spread.
This fire will endanger several of CWR’s large mammal species, including the Endangered Caucasian Leopard, Bezoar Goat, Syrian Brown Bear and Grey Wolf. The CWR is also a valuable habitat for globally threated bird species such as the Saker Falcon and Lammergeier, Black, Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, as well as bird species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world: the Caspian Snowcock.
Caucasus Fire Relief Fund
WLT’s partner FPWC is in desperate need of supplies for the firefighting efforts including vehicles, water pumps, tools and other gear to support the volunteers who are working in the summer heat with limited water.
In addition to the immediate support WLT has provided from the Action Fund, we are asking for any donations which can support this effort and minimise the damage to this important habitat. 100 per cent of donations will go towards the relief effort.