Irresponsible Cave Tourism Troubles Armenian Cavers

December 11, 2011 / Armenia, Asia
Broken Stalactites in the Caves

Photo by the Association of Young Biologists NGO

Cavers in Armenia have expressed concern over visitors harming caves. Mozrov, Arjer and Magel caves, located near the town of Yeghegnadzor, are threated by people who don’t respect any rules and harm the caves.

Visits to these caves are quickly becoming more frequent, with different tourism groups organizing trips.

It leaves the bats which inhabit the caves at risk. The tourists disturb the bats which begin flying around, getting stressed, and wasting the energy they are storing for winter.

Samvel Shahinyan of the Speleological Center of Armenia also accuses folks of harvesting the formations and selling them. In Mozrov cave, a ceiling collapse which left a huge hole, altering the humidity level of the cave, is even being attributed to human activity.

Luckily, there are now efforts by the Trchkan civil initiative to raise money to reconstruct the ceiling.

Discovered in 1965 during road construction, Mozrov cave is 300 meters (984 feet) long and full of spectacular formations. Nearby Arjer cave is approximatly 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) long and also filled with formations. At 1.7 kilometres (1 mile) long, Magel cave is known for its population of between four and six species of bats.

Futher concerning Samvel Shahinyan is the lack of young cavers expressing an interest in the activity, making it hard for them to keep their membership in the world speleologists union.

Caves Threatened [Lragir.am – Armenian Online] & Association of Young Biologists: Ecosystems of Our Caves Endangered [EcoLur]

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