18 Jul 2017
Supporting the Conservation of Velvet Scoter at Lake Tabatskuri by Determining the Direct Causes of the Scoters’ Poor Reproductive Success
The populations of Velvet Scoter (Melanitta fusca) is decreasing worldwide and the species is classified as Vulnerable by IUCN. There is a small isolated population of Velvet Scoter in Georgia. A result of humen activities the breading area of Velvet Scoter is criticaly reduced and corrently the Species only found in Tabatskuri Lake. The aim of the project is to support the conservation of Velvet Scoter by means of increasing our knowledge of the population status and awareness rising of local community and other stakeholders and convince them to take an active role in the conservation of the existing population. The result of the project will provide a bases for restoration and protection of Velvet Scoter populations in Georgia.
During the last 4-5 years Velvet Scoter is only found in Tabatskuri Lake. However, a detailed study on its historical range has not been carried out. Therefore, in the beginning of the project we will check all historical range on Javakheti plateau, Georgia. We will develop a questionnaire that will be used to gather information on the knowledge about the Velvet Scoter in local communities before and after finishing core activities of the project.
Monitoring will be carried out for two days a week from June to September on Tabatskuri Lake. The birds will be counted using binoculars or telescope with direct counts. We’ll count number of males, females with broods and determining the main breeding and feeding areas and make the maps of locations of breeding sites and feeding areas.
We will also study main threats to the population. Based on the observation we will have a better understanding which factors affects the numbers, range size variation within a year and nesting success of Velvet Scoter. We will have meetings authorities, local community, fishermen and hunters to introduce the project and will have numerous educational talks about the value of the species in the area. We will produce informational poster boards and booklets with the information on Velvet Scoter, existing threats and ways to prevent its extinction. We will create a group of volunteers who will help us in the field work and will gain experience. They also promote the popularization our project and research targets on social networks. We will organize workshops for all stakeholders (Protected area stuff and its authorities, Local decision makers, conservation NGOs) on how to use targeting behavior approach in addressing anthropogenic problems using project findings. After the finishing field study activities we will prepare an article publish results in peer-reviewed journal.
The main results will be also delivered to the ministry of environment and Natural resources protection of Georgia, Agency of Protected Areas and administration of Javakheti Protected areas . At the final stage we will prepare the final report.