Vanyan and his fellow ranger Radik Matevosyan agree - and are committed to stop the phenomenon in the area they call home.
Vanyan was eight when his family, in the wake of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, left his native village of Begum Sarov, in today’s Azerbaijan, and moved to Tigrashen, formerly Karki. He hasn’t left since and by now he knows every brook and every cave in the region. Vanyan met 36-year-old Matevosyan, a native of the neighbouring village of Zangakatun, in summer 2018 and soon the work relationship morphed into a close friendship - love for nature unites them, although Matevosyan’s views on hunting more complex.
A recovering hunter Matevosyan sees himself as an environmentalist and today he advocates for a total ban on the practise.
“Every person was born for one job and I think I was born to protect nature”, he maintains, adding that a total ban for a few years would work as a deterrent for illegal hunters and would re-balance the wildlife affected by decades of neglect. His views are shared - the National Security Service has proposed to discuss a formal ban on hunting for three to five years. In addition, in May of 2019 the government approved a new set of rules about protected species, included in the so-called Red Book, and increased penalties for those who breach them. Fines depend on the season and the animal and can be up to 400 to 600 times the minimum salary and imprisonment up to three months.
“The previous government reduced nature to rubles, they destroyed everything. If the proposal will pass, hunters can stop for three years, and nature will have time to recover and develop. It is not hard to wait for three years, is it?” asks Matevosyan to Vanyan who does not oppose legal and highly regulated hunting.