Brown bears in CWR
Photos by Andrej Didenko
Late summer/ early autumn is always a very busy time in CWR as the entire area is totally dried out and we have to be extremely attentive to prevent wildfires. That means we have to patrol the area more thoroughly. Another priority in these months is the regular watering of the trees and the maintenance of the drip irrigation system and the water pump as any technical failures of the water pump will increase the risk to lose trees in this very dry season. The tree planting site is now entirely protected against intruding wild animals with an electric fence. We hope that with this and some additional measures like mesh around each little tree we can keep away hares from the tree saplings in winter.
The most impressive development in the months between August and October was the increase of visitors in the CWR. The fact that the Eco Center offers comfortable overnight accommodation and that there are now two B&Bs available in Urtsadzor has highly contributed to this development. All four of us were very much occupied all these months with guiding the visitors on hiking/ horse riding/ jeep tours, explaining our flora and fauna as well as the risks (for example snake bites). We were offering the guests traditional Armenian meals with locally produced meat and vegetables. We all enjoy working with visitors as we learn a lot of new things from people with different cultural background and in parallel practice our English skills. We are now for the first time really convinced that rural ecotourism can provide new income opportunities for many people in our village.
Among all the visits in the last months one is really outstanding. Andrej Didenko, Political Officer of the EU Delegation in Yerevan has visited us already several times. During his first visit he was so lucky to observe a bear mother with two cubs and was even able to make some photos (see beside). He published the pictures on his Facebook page together with enthusiastic comments about the pristine beauty of our CWR. Since then he promotes the CWR and many guests visit CWR on his recommendation. It is really very nice to receive such great feedback from a person who has attended CWR and enjoyed it. I do hope that in the future we’ll have more people attending CWR thus showing their responsible attitude towards wildlife conservation.