The annual “Let's protect gazelles!” summer camp has been successfully held in the district of Gakh on July 18-20, 2018. Being part of the gazelle (or jeyran) conservation program, the camp was put together with the support of Gakh District Executive Power and through joint partnership by IDEA Campaign, Azerbaijani Youth Foundation, Ecological, Training and Experience Center of the Ministry of Education, and the representative office of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) in Azerbaijan. Around 60 children from Gum, Ilisu, Almali, Jelayir, Tasmali, Lakit, Turajli and other villages of the district participated in a three-day camp.
The camp aimed to raise environmental awareness among the school aged children about the gazelle species reintroduced in the region, encouraging behavioral changes that would reduce threats to wildlife and promoting the protection of the species. The camp program was split between learning activities and field trips. During the camp, participants were widely informed about the species lifestyle, their habitat and the role in nature. Apart from learning, the campers also engaged in ecological research practices, thematic games competitions, as well as watched the documentary film “Azerbaijan. Saving the Gazelle” created by wildlife filmmaker Igor Byshnev. Tour trips were also organized to areas in Gakh where gazelles were introduced and to Lakit waterfowl known as the waterfowl “Mamirli”, which is being protected as a Gakh natural monument since 2006. Research and training activities were conducted in the forestry area of Gum village and around Ardava river.
At the final day of camp, participants were given participation certificates and memorial gifts.
Launched by Heydar Aliyev Foundation in 2010, the "Reintroduction of gazelles to their historical habitat areas in Caucasus" program is being successfully implement by IDEA Campaign, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and WWF Azerbaijan. During the past years more than 150 gazelle were reintroduced in their historical habitat areas in Azerbaijan (Shirvan National Park) and the Republic of Georgia, and were monitored since then. As important as protection efforts are, raising public awareness and public understanding of wildlife is one of the key features of successful conservation. Therefore, IDEA camps play crucial role in educating the school aged children about the environment and sustainability. It should also be noted that as a result of successful conservation works, there are now 7,000 jeyrans in Azerbaijan.
IDEA summer camps have been annually held since 2014 in over 10 regions of the country (Ismayilli, Salyan, Neftchala, Goranboy, Samukh, Gakh, Shaki, Masalli, Jalilabad, Yardimli, Lankaran, Astara, Goygol, Gabala and Lerik) and attended by over 500 schoolchildren.