Changes in Hunting Law Creates Perils for Georgian National Parks
06 October, 2011
Changes in Hunting Law Creates Perils for Georgian National Parks

Lifting ban on hunting in national parks as well as after certain red-listed species suggested by the government-initiated draft project, appears hazardous to Georgian ecosystem.
The draft is under parliamentary procedures at the moment and the World Wildlife (WWF) Fund Caucasus, an international environmentally friendly watchdog, advises Georgian legislative body to involve relevant organizations and individual experts in discussion of the questioned amendment project that looks like a Pandora box for Georgian ecosystem.
According to WWF Caucasus, the suggested changes to

hunting regulation is unacceptable as it may destroy national parks and ecosystem for the newly initiated law envisages ban-lifting on hunting for certain red list species with no prior assessments or monitoring, and secondly hunting will be allowed on Georgia’s national parks.
“Such provision does not comply with the existing international practices and contradicts the internationally acknowledged Principles of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on protected area categories,” The WWF Caucasus warned on September 30, 2011. 
According to it, from legal point of view, adoption of the above provision downgrades National Park to lower protection level (e.g. Sanctuary, Protected Landscape and Multiple Use Territory) and makes its existence meaningless in fact.
Such legislative change will bring much more damage than the profit: Strict Nature Reserves and National Parks are last refuge areas for representative species of fauna, kind of biodiversity “reservoirs” allowing animals to be reproduced - thus, contributing to development of specialized hunting management sites outside protected areas.
In addition, permission for hunting in National Parks will adversely impact positive tendency for tourism development in the National Parks of Georgia. And finally, hunting permission in National Parks and de-facto downgrading of their protection status will negatively reflect on Georgia’s international image.
The draft law reads very unpredictable with regard to legal status for Red List species. The environmental watchdog fears that neglecting importance of the Red List may lead to the eminent extinction risk of some species and be negatively reflected on the natural ecosystems of the country.
“Hunting on Red Listed endangered animals is completely intolerable. Normally, as this is provided under the acting legislation of Georgia, the Red List is supposed to be regularly updated concerning conservation status of enlisted species upon periodical new data collection and appropriate analyses. Some species may be as well removed from the Red List, but such removal needs substantial scientific assessment and further justification,” The WWF Caucasus informed Georgian Journal.

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