Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Azerbaijan fights to protect national animal from extinction

Edition.cnn.com - Full Article

From Emily Wither, for CNN
November 15, 2011

Editor's note: All this week CNN International is bringing you in-depth coverage of the country on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Read and watch reports online and watch the half-hour show from Saturday, November 19.

(CNN) -- Tough, strong and noble; these are the sorts of qualities one would expect from a national symbol.

The fabled Karabakh horse is a rare and beautiful animal that is of great importance to Azerbaijanis.

But the country's national animal that can be found everywhere from its stories to its postage stamps is faced with extinction.

In the thickly forested foothills of Sheki, a small city 300km (187 miles) from the capital Baku, is one of world's largest and purest Karabakh herds.

Their owner, Yashar Guluzade, has been restoring the breed for over a decade in this unspoilt mountainous region.

He says that conflict and a difficult economic situation have led to their decline.

"At the beginning of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict the horses were continually transferred from one place to another and this was one of the reasons for the sharp reduction of stock as the movement of pregnant mares led to miscarriages," he explained.

Guluzade says that the places the horses were taken did not have the correct conditions and pastures to support them and it was as if the country had forgotten about them.

The government has now stepped in to try and protect the breed...

Read more and see photos here:
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/10/world/asia/azerbaijan-karabakh-horse/?hpt=hp_mid