|Town/Region||Borjom-Kharagauli National Park, Vashlovani National Park, Lagodekhi Nature Reserve|
|Date||13 Mar 2012|
During the last 10 years, with development of various sectors of economy, habitat fragmentation and conflict with fish farm owners became a serious problem for otter. Unfortunately, no national wide survey or monitoring program was made for more than 20 years. The government of Georgia has decided to build more than 30 large hydroelectric power stations, which will cover the major rivers. This can seriously fragment the existing otter population. Another initiative was to allow hunting everywhere except protected areas which covers only 6 % of the whole country. Hunting and fishing will be also allowed in some zones within the protected areas, which can seriously destroy the otter habitat and cause disturbance. At present most of large mammals are on the game species list and there are some debates to add also otter in the future.
We will conduct national wide otter survey and gather information on current threats; Also legislation overview and socio-economic survey of conflict will be done; outline for Otter Conservation Action Plan will be elaborated. Additional data on fish farms from different regions will be gathered and GIS Database will be elaborated, including data on quantity and species composition. Otter monitoring program will be started in Vashlovani, Lagodekhi and Borjom-Kharagauli National Park. Fish farms will receive information and recommendations how to reduce the conflict. They will be able with our help to make changes in the design of fish culturing and management facilities for reducing predation losses from mammals and birds.
The project will improve the level of awareness of Rangers, students and local communities through their active participation in otter’s survey, discussion meetings and training programs.
Read about George's previous grants http://www.ruffordsmallgrants.org/rsg/projects/george_gorgadze or for more information contact: