At the end of December 2011, just a couple of days before the New Year the Georgian Government issued a number of legal acts allowing the hunting of endangered species included in the Red List.
This decision is alarming especially as the government has not developed any mechanisms for law enforcement, monitoring, combating poaching, protection and reproduction of animals on the territories allowed for hunting; there are no data about the number and populations of the species included in the list of hunting species.
Such decision will cause an irreversible harm to Georgia’s unique biodiversity; the populations of wild goat, eastern and western Caucasian tur, chamois and brown bear may decrease to a critical level in the near future.
Besides, this decision strikes a serious blow to the successes achieved by the country in developing the system of protected areas and ecotourism during past years. Millions of dollars spent by donors on biodiversity conservation will be in vain. Such decision is irrelevant to a civilized state oriented to western values; it will damage the international reputation of our country, since it radically contradicts the key principles of international environmental agreements.
The decision allowing the hunting of endangered species included in the Red List was taken hastily and non-transparently, without any involvement of stakeholders. This raises a serious doubt that the decision serves the financial interests of a particular group having close ties with the authorities. We suppose that this doubt will be justified in the near future, when it becomes clear who purchased the right of killing the endangered species from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia. It will be yet another documentary confirmation of elite corruption in our country.