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ECF's First Ever Wildlife Caretaker Conference

Last week we hosted an exciting event – ECF’s first ever Caretaker Conference.

Our community ECF Caretakers of Nature are an integral part of the ECF team. The work they do illustrates how the ECF can simultaneously protect nature and improve the economic wellbeing of the communities involved.

ECF Caretakers come from the local communities and are trained by WWF. They are responsible for monitoring the wild animals in their conservation areas the ECF established with the communities conservation areas, and coordinating project activities with the local community members. They also prevent unwanted activities and report any illegal activities to the relevant authorities. Some caretakers also guide tourist hiking groups, and even manage camps for tourists who come to the regions to explore the landscapes and  see some wildlife.The primary purpose of gathering of the ECF Caretakers from Armenia and Georgia was to review and adopt the newly established ECF Caretakers Code of Conduct and present the caretakers with l ECF Caretaker uniforms. But there were many other benefits of getting the caretakers together, including sharing successes, challenges, experiences in the field and best practices in an informal way. 

Representatives from some of the community-based organizations that work with the ECF also attended and presented good practices from both countries, highlighting the use of the Earthbeat phone application to record observations of wild animals and record other activities in Armenia, and the use of wildlife damage solidarity schemes being implemented in Georgia. Overall, the three day conference was a chance to recognize the hard work of each caretaker involved in the ECF Programme, as well as looking at the impact they have together on biodiversity conservation in the Caucasus.

Thanks to everyone who attended, and the ECF team is looking forward to hosting another Caretakers Conference with Caretakers from Azerbaijan in May


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