Conservation of The Endangered
Persian Sunwatcher Lizard: Step 1.
This work is supported
by the Armenian National Science and Education Fund in 2005.
RESULTS, REFERENCES, TIME
FRAME, PROGRESS EVALUATION
Sunwatcher Lizard (Phrynocephalus persicus de Filippi, 1863)
is an endemic of the semideserts of Atropatan and is critically endangered
in Transcaucasus. So, its conservation is crucial not only at local but
at global level as well [1,2,4-6,11,12,14,19-22].
One of the largest (about 200 ha) and the most important plots of natural
habitats of Persian Sunwatcher is situated near Goravan village in Ararat
region, Armenia. This habitat supports also a great diversity of other
endemic, rare and endangered plants and animals [1,2,4,5,12,13,17,19,20,22].
In 1958 “Gorovan Sands” state sanctuary was established here,
but no plan on land management was developed and realized during the following
46 years. Moreover, during the last 15 years this sanctuary has been completely
neglected. This caused uncontrolled mining, overgrazing, animal and plant
collection and other activities destroying natural habitats of Sunwatcher
Habitat destruction is the most threatening factor for such a highly tailored
species as Persian Sunwatcher lizard. In such cases, development of an
adequate habitat management plan can be a key to its in situ conservation.
In order to scientifically ground a habitat management plan, it is necessary
first of all to assess optimal and negative factors of the habitat for
the target species [9,16,18].
Though there exists a great number of research works on the ecology of
Sunwatcher, concrete data on optimal habitat conditions are absent [11,19-22].
Thus, the main goal of this project is the revelation of optimal habitat
conditions and negative factors for Persian Sunwatcher Lizard.
The main strategy of the proposed research is to measure and analyse the
dependance of abundance of Sunwatcher Lizard on factors influencing it
in the conditions of various microhabitats within the ecosystem of Goravan
sands. The planning of the research, laboratory analyses, data analysis
and mapping will be realized in the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia
in the Centre for Ecological-Noosphere Studies (CENS). The main research
activities of CENS are devoted to the assessment of environmental quality.
For this purpose the institution disposes of and will provide qualified
personnel and the most part of equipment, needed for the realisation of
the present project. However, a part of the equipment should be purchased.
METHODS, EXPECTED RESULTS,
TIME FRAME, PROGRESS