Georgia's New Birdwatching Haven Becomes a Thriving Hub for Ecotourism

Chachuna Managed Reserve launches community-led ecotourism services

November 28, 2023
Egyptian Vulture in Georgia

Chachuna Managed Reserve welcomes visitors with its new eco-tourism infrastructure, developed thanks to a successful collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), Georgia’s Agency of Protected Areas, the Society for Nature Conservation “Sabuko”, Dedoplistskaro Municipality, and local communities.

The area offers a captivating tapestry of landscapes, from floodplain woods to arid forests and semi-desert and steppe ecosystems. Renowned as a premier birdwatching destination, the reserve is a sanctuary for more than 250 bird species.

Among these avian inhabitants are rare and endangered species such as the Egyptian vulture, Eastern imperial eagle, black francolin, and cinereous vulture—listed on both Georgia's and the IUCN Red Lists. The reserve not only showcases the rich diversity of Georgia's birdlife but also plays a crucial role in the conservation efforts for these vulnerable species.

Chachuna Managed Reserve is a haven for migratory birds, hosting more than 100 species that traverse its landscapes. Many of them are nesting in the reserve year-round, making it a vital habitat for sustaining bird populations.

This unique ecosystem not only offers a breathtaking experience for birdwatchers but also underscores the importance of preserving such natural treasures. The new tourism services will help enhance biodiversity conservation and protection, assisting visitors in exploring this remarkable natural beauty.

Iuri Nozadze, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, and Anna Chernyshova, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Georgia, paid a visit to the Chachuna Managed Reserve on 27 November, together with a group of journalists from leading Georgian media.

The delegation inspected various facilities, such as birdwatching and camping sites, constructed to accommodate tourists. Additionally, they visited a Vulture Supplementary Feeding Station, a unique feature designed to support birdwatching activities and provide food for rare bird species.

"Biodiversity protection and climate action are among UNDP’s key priorities in Georgia. I am delighted to see that we support local communities to breathe new life into Chachuna Managed Reserve, transforming it into an enchanting destination that captivates and welcomes tourists."
Anna Chernyshova, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Georgia

UNDP and GEF Small Grants Programme continue assisting Chachuna Managed Reserve in promoting eco-tourism services. This support includes assistance in developing a business plan and signing cooperation agreements with tourism service providers.

Background Information

The UNDP-led GEF Small Grants Programme has been supporting community-based environmental initiatives in Georgia since 2012, working in partnership with local authorities and civil society organizations to protect and conserve endangered ecosystems, promote sustainable agriculture and fisheries, increase access to low-carbon energy, and catalyse sustainable urban solutions.

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