The National Park

  The Lake Arpi is the second largest lake in Armenia and is found in north-western corner of Armenia on the border with Georgia and Turkey. The lake's water surface is about 3,139 ha, and it is found at 2020 m a.s.l. Lake Arpi is designated as a Ramsar wetland in 1993.

  The area around the lake is represented with mountain steppes, subalpine and alpine meadows as well as smaller lakes, rivers and other wetlands. There are few areas by the lake with artificial wood plantations, while Akhuryan River gorge holds a natural Aspen grove. Rock outcrops are found mainly at slopes of mountain ridges, in some places these form extensive areas of talus. Akhuryan River gorge is represented with a deep rocky canyon.

  Recently here was established the Lake Arpi National Park with the aim of protection of unique biodiversity of the area and to ensure sustainable development of local communities.

  Some Facts about the Lake Arpi National Park
Protected area: 21,180 ha
Established: 2009 

Purpose: protection of unique biodiversity of the Javakhq-Shirak Plateau and Lake Arpi basin; nesting and stopover areas for migratory birds.

Biodiversity: 18 species of local plants and 62 species of animals are registered in the Red Data Book of Armenia. One of the largest world colonies of Armenian Gull, the only nesting site for Dalmatian Pelican in Armenia and the principal world habitat of the Darevsky’s Viper

Climate: harsh, predominantly continental with severe winters and cool summers

Communities: 18 communities with registered population in amount of c.7500 people. People in the project area mostly depend on subsistence agriculture and livestock.

Possible activities: bird and butterfly watching, botanical tours, sport fishing, horse riding, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, camping and walking tours

Spatterdock on the
Akhuryan River
  There are about 700 species of higher plants from 80 families and 269 genera are growing in the National Park. Of these, 18 species are rare and/or endemics and are listed in the Red Data Book of Armenia.
Among them are  Caucasian cat's ear (Caucasian endemic), Caucaisan chamomile, Globose milk vetch, Sosnowky's thorough-wax, Balansa's  leopard's-bane, Dzhavakhetian gladiolus (Transcaucasian endemic),  Siberian iris, Spatterdock, Akhirian currant (Armenian endemic), Rosen's squill, Bog bilberry and Wooly-leaved valerian  (Transcaucasian endemic).
Spatterdock flower
There are numerous ornamental plants among the species of the region: Kotschy's gladiolus,  Reticulate iris, Dwarf iris, Szovits's lily, orchids (Traunsteinera sphaerica, Dactylorhiza species), Oriental poppy, Armenian poppy, Szovits's meadow saffron as well as endemic species of the Caucasus - Forked iris, Caucasian gladiolus, Slender gladiolus and  Ruprecht's primrose.

Eurasian Otter footprints
on the bank of Akhuryan River
  Mammals of the National Park include 38 species: 7 species of insectivores, 8 species of bats (including passage migrant species), 11 species of rodents, one species of lagomorphs, 9 species of carnivores and two species of even-toed ungulates.
 Among them there are several Caucasian endemics, including Caucasian Shrew, Caucasian Water Shrew, Nehring's Blind Mole Rat, Brandt’s Hamster, Nasarov’s and Daghestan Pine Voles.
Marbled Polecat (in rehab center)
   The Park is home to globally threatened Marbled Polecat, Eurasian Otter and Asia Minor Ground Squirrel, all of them are included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Additionally, three other species are listed in the Armenian Red Data Book.


Dalmatian Pelican
Over 190 species of birds have been recorded in the National Park.
About 120 species of birds regularly breed here and over 100 species found during the autumn and spring migration. Despite severe winter cold and extensive snow cover in the area about 70 species of birds overwinter in the Park.
  44 species of the Park’s birds are included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and Red Data Book of Armenia. Among these are the globally threatened Dalmatian Pelican, Egyptian Vulture and European Roller breeding here, and Pallid Harrier, Greater Spotted and Imperial Eagles, Red-footed and Saker Falcons, Great Snipe and Semi-collared Flycatcher occuring in the Park on passage in autumn and spring.
Armenian Gull
   Other birds of the Park include rare in Armenia Greylag Goose, Black Stork, Eurasian Spoonbill, Corncrake, Common Crane, Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Eagle Owl and Citrine Wagtail.
   Lake Arpi hosts one of the world’s largest colonies of Armenian Gull - an endemic of Armenian Highland.

Eight species of fish are known to occur in the Lake Arpi, Akhuryan River, its tributaries and other rivers of the Park. Among these are European Chub, Spirlin, Angora Loach and Common Carp. Asp occurring in the Lake Arpi is listed in the Red Data Book of Armenia.

Darevski's Viper
Herpetofauna of the Park is more divers and includes six species of snakes, four species of lizards, two species of frogs and one species of toads.
 The two vipers of the Park, the Darevsky’s Viper and Armenian Steppe Viper, are included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, with the former being critically endangered.

  Insects of the Park are represented with a great variety of moths, flies, wasps, beetles, crickets.
About 90 species of butterflies are known from this area. Three of these, Apollo, Large Copper and Large Blue, are globally threatened and included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Clouded Apollo, Alcon Blue and Nina’s Blue occurring here, are additionally listed in the Red Data Book of Armenia.
   Fauna of dragonflies of the Park is little studied. At present, 12 species known to occur here, including 7 species of Damselflies. New species for Armenia may well be discovered in this area.