Flora & Fauna
With 17 vegetation zones, the variety of plant-life in Armenia is truly astounding. The country has everything from desert plants to oak, beech and pine forests, wet marshland and sub-tropic plants to alpine meadows teeming with wild flowers.
There are even virgin fields of wild grain, the forebears of the first wheat in the ancient world, believed to have been cultivated in Armenia 12-15,000 years ago. Known by their genus names Triticum Urartu and Triticum Araraticum, the wheat is native to the Ararat valley and can be found in small protected fields between Yerevan and Garni.
Armenias flora is so diverse and rich it seems all you would have to do is add cacti, palms and a rain forest, and your would pretty much complete the worlds diversity of plant life.
The flora and vegetation of the southern and northern slopes in the peninsula drastically differ as that of the lake littoral area. Southern and south-western slopes are covered with steppe vegetation such as thorny astragals and light pink poppies. The northern slopes are covered with hygrophilous vegetation with plenty of blossoming forget-me-nots, buttercups, anemones, primroses etc. Among rocks one can still see Sorbus Hajastana which is about to get extinct.
The geographical location and relief of Armenia has produced a variety of bio-resources of high-level endemism and a rich and diverse agriculture.
Armenia holds a large diversity of fauna, including the Wild Armenian Goat, Deer, Wild Ram, Leopard, Caucasian Bear (all endangered), lynx, wildcat, Reed Wildcat, Wild Bore, Porcupine, Squirrel, Jackal, Mole, Prairie Dog, Marten, Royal Stag and Nutria. Other species normal to vegetation zones elsewhere will be found in Armenia. Unique fish found in Armenia are the Ishkhan (red-spotted trout) and Sig. Most popular habitats for specific fauna are listed under each Region.
The fauna of Armenia comprises of 76 species of mammals, 304 bird species, 44 reptile species, 3 amphibian species, 24 fish species and about 10 thousand invertebrate species.
There are bears (including Iranian silver bears) bobcats, boars, deer, woods and jungle cats in the northern part of the country. In the mountain steppes you can find wolves, badgers, foxes, hares, moufflons and bezoar goats, while in the steppes and the semi deserts there are numerous rodents such as the voles, ground squirrels, gerbils, mole rats, jerboas. The Caucasian agama, the Greek tortoise, the Levantine viper, the Armenian viper make up the amphibian group. In Lake Sevan one can find trout, whitefish and other fish species. Lizards and snakes are also widely common. Raccoon dogs have already acclimatized in Armenia. About 339 endemic animals inhabit the Armenian land.
The diversity of the Armenian flora and fauna promotes the development of ecotourism in Armenia. Year after year the number of botanical, zoological and geological tours is in the increase.