Saving Armenian Gull

Duration: 

Birds of Armenia Project (AUA)
Lake Sevan 1999

Armenian Gull breeds in lakes Sevan and Arpi in Armenia. At Lake Sevan it breeds in “Gull islands” which, as a result of constant water  level lowering in the lake, joined the coast by the end of 1990-s, thus turning into a peninsula and  has become open to predators and domestic cattle. Predators such as foxes and stray dogs caused much harm to Gulls by eating their eggs and nestlings. As for domestic animals, they trampled down the eggs wandering around the island.

The island became open to tourists who frightened the birds and raised panic among them. That harmful circumstance, as it may seem at first sight, had the most fatal consequences: eggs were getting too cold during the first period of nesting and in the period of mass hatching the frightened birds were leaving their nests. The parents in the useless search of their nestlings were pecking the other lost nestlings to death.

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The only way to rescue the Armenian Gull was to turn its nesting into an island again. For that purpose, it was necessary to remove the isthmus, digging a channel between the island and the coast. Unfortunately, the corresponding departments didn’t take active part in it for certain reasons, though they were well aware of the urgent need of isolation of the nesting place.

Thus, on 14 May, 1999, the project workers, equipping themselves with corresponding techniques, conducted land-utilizing works by digging 18 meters wide breach and 0.8-2.3 meters deep strait.

In the same year we organized a pilot monitoring of the nesting place of the Armenian Gull in “Gull islands” which testified that our efforts were not vain. The eggs and nestlings were saved! As a result, the generation of Armenian Gull was conserved. 

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Making of the channel

Each year before the beginning of nesting season we visit the island and measure the depth and width of the strait in order to step in again in case of need.

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