This year the Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds (ASPB) which is an affiliate to BirdLife International celebrates its 10th anniversary. ASPB was founded in 2002 by experienced and dedicated conservationists and has gone from strength to strength over the past decade having developed into the leading bird conservation organization in Armenia.
Back in 2002 ASPB’s first conservation effort started out with the study and rescue of the last
endangered pairs of Cinereous Vulture in the Khosrov Reserve. This work was successful because it helped to prevent the existing threats at nest sites, while the species’ breeding success and hence its breeding pairs were increased through supplemental feeding of birds and their nest guarding. This action was considered as ASPB’s first successful conservation effort and the Cinereous Vulture ever since became an iconic species featured on ASPB logo.
For 10 years ASPB has been involved in the scientific study and conservation of wild birds, specifically those classified as rare and endangered. However, without a habitat, a species cannot survive. So ASPB's efforts were also directed to study areas which are used by the birds as their nesting ground or a place for their temporal concentration during migration. Working with BirdLife International and its partner organizations in the
Caucasus, ASPB has identified 18 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Armenia which have been recognized as sites of national, regional and global importance for birds. From that point onward ASPB’s geographic area of conservation work was pretty much defined and is aligned primarily to these sites, although birds no know bounds and our work may extend beyond those limits. The identified IBAs are monitored regularly by ASPB to collect comprehensive data on species and their habitats, detect early changes in their population and identify threats that are prone to affect the survival of these bird assemblages. Such a site-based approach to conservation of birds and other biodiversity allowed IBAs to become an effective platform for establishing new protected areas in Armenia. The value of IBAs also benefits other global conservation initiatives and is used to update the International Red List once in four years.
Support from BirdLife helped ASPB to establish a community stewardship of local bird habitats (IBAs), with the launch of the
Armenian Important Bird Areas Caretaker program. Initiated in 2005 and operating in 5 regions Caretakers are matched to specific IBAs to monitor birds, assess habitats, and conduct conservation activities. Our small network of supporters (caretakers, local informants and members) are a sociable, friendly and diverse group of characters who put their conservation ideas into action and act to conserve.
Thanks to all our fellow Partners we are not only active in our own country but all over the world. Together we are active worldwide in 12 000 Important Bird Areas (IBA) and working yearly with not less than 1 million school children for conservation. You as reader and supporter of ASPB are part of the unique BirdLife Partnership.