On August 31, the final meeting and press conference of the project “Joint Monitoring of Environmental Protection for the Black Sea Basin Countries” was held in Kolkheti National Park. The project’s goal was to study the anthropogenic impact on the protected areas of the Black Sea basin and the project’s golfing ways to solve the problems based on the obtained data. For this, the Kolkheti National Park was chosen by Georgia due to the abundance of essential habitats and the spread of invasive species.

“A lot of work has been done in this direction. Although Kolkheti National Park is distinguished by its unique biodiversity, its preservation, protection, and restoration require scientific research and monitoring. Sabuko has done a great job. This concerns the collection of data about the air and atmosphere. The data will be processed daily, summarized, and used in compliance. Monitoring the otter, which is a red-listed species, is also important. One of the main tasks is drone footage of invasive species whose range is increasing. Areas will be defined, and solutions will be identified. Rangers have been involved in the work as well. We will process these data, analyzes it, and they will be used for research. Thanks to Sabuko and we hope that our cooperation will not end there,” – said Manana Chikovani, the chief natural resources specialist of Kolkheti National Park.

The representatives of Sabuko presented the project results to the community gathered at the meeting. Within two years, several necessary studies were carried out within the project.

Water and air quality monitoring systems were installed on the park’s territory, and habitat research was carried out using a completely innovative method – a drone. In addition, a methodology for studying mammals and birds was developed, and new approaches to species research were initiated.

During the project, Kolkheti National Park rangers also participated in the research and monitoring process along with Sabuko employees.

“I have been involved in the project for 2 years. We have been conducting nutria and otter research on Paliastom Lake and its tributaries. At the final stage of the project, an exciting meeting was held in Bulgaria, where a laboratory was built, which allows the countries of the Black Sea basin to carry out research. This is a new opportunity for biodiversity research, scientists to study the current situation, and young people to develop knowledge and experience. Today, we introduced the current process, the final report to the Kolkheti National Park administration, and also the countries participating in the project – Armenia, Bulgaria, and Romania – presented the research results,”- said Giorgi Chikorashvili, conservation officer of Sabuko.

A memorandum of cooperation was signed between Sabuko and Kolkheti National Park, based on which the park’s administration and employees will continue to use the equipment purchased during the project, including monitoring systems. Joint monitoring and studies with the involvement of both parties are planned in the future.

“Our cooperation turned out to be fruitful and interesting. The involvement of interested parties was ensured, including experts of the National Park Administration, scientists, people using natural resources, fishermen, and young people. They participated in meetings and training for two years. It is also important that a memorandum is prepared, according to which the boat using Sabuko will be transferred to the national park. It will facilitate the monitoring of biodiversity and be actively used for monitoring various species,” – says the head of the administrative department, Khatuna Katsarava.