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Status and conservation of White-tailed Lapwing Vanellus leucurus in Armenia

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Pages
87 – 92

Published
1 April 21

Authors
Karen Aghababyan

DOI
10.18194/ws.00224

Correspondence
Karen Aghababyan
karen.aghababyan@gmail.com
BirdLinks Armenia (formerly TSE – Towards Sustainable Ecosystems), 87b Dimitrov, apt. 14, 0020 Yerevan, Armenia

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Population monitoring of White-tailed Lapwing was conducted in Armenia during 2003–2019 and showed that the species occurs only in a restricted area of the Ararat Plain: 52 km2 within the Armash Wetlands. The most recent estimate of the Armenian population is 74–89 breeding pairs. The national population trend is stable, although there are strong fluctuations. A significant increase was observed during 2003–2010, which coincided with decreasing hunting due to development of birdwatching in the Armash Wetlands. This was followed by a significant decline in numbers in 2010–2014, which coincided with the transformation of abandoned ponds into intensively cultivated carp farms. A survey amongst 500 hunters visiting the core area showed that three or four White-tailed Lapwings are shot each hunting season. Existing conservation measures are not sufficient and the following measures would strengthen White-tailed Lapwing conservation in Armenia: (1) re-evaluating the national conservation status of the species (currently Vulnerable) and significantly increasing punishment for poaching; (2) lobbying for continuation of the process of official designation by the Armenian government of the Armash Wetlands as an Emerald Network Site protected under the Bern Convention; (3) development of a management plan for the ‘Armash’ proposed Emerald Site and exclusion of the site from the list of public hunting lands; (4) changing the conditions for national hunting licenses with the introduction of a new, obligatory exam for hunters to test their knowledge of game birds and prohibited species; (5) strengthening the State Inspectorate Body to improve control over hunters and poachers; and (6) further development of birdwatching in the Armash Wetlands. The proposed conservation measures should be supported by continued monitoring of the species and its breeding success.