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Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to the Caucasus, where it has been recorded in south Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The distribution range of the species is covers the Great Caucasus in Russia, Abkhazia, Georgia and, apparently, of Azerbaijan. It is found on the northern and southern slopes of the Great Caucasus from Fisht-Oshten massif in the west up to the eastern Georgia and north-western Azerbaijan (Lagodekhi and Zakatali Reservations) in the east. The continuous distribution range stretches eastwards up to the Bol'shaya Laba River, further a chain of isolated populations is known from Karachaevo-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Chechnya, Dagestan, northern and eastern Georgia. It ranges between 1,500 and 2,800m asl.
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Continent: Asia
Distribution: S Russia (the Caucasus), Georgia, Azerbaijan. Elevation up to 3000 m.  
Type locality: Svanetia, Georgia
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Source: The Reptile Database

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It inhabits the upper-forest zone, stream borders, shrub forests, subalpine and alpine meadows, rocky scree, talus slopes and montane moraines. Animals emerge after hibernation from the middle of April to the beginning of June, with males emerging early. The period of reproduction occurs in the end of April - May, with the young appearing in August - September. The female gives birth to between 3 and 7 young. Animals begin hibernation from September - beginning of October.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
B1ab(iii,v)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2009

Assessor/s
Boris Tuniyev, Goren Nilson, Aram Agasyan, Nikolai Orlov, and Sako Tuniyev

Reviewer/s
Neil Cox and Helen Temple

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Vulnerable because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 20,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline due to persecution, overcollecting and overgrazing of its habitat.

History
  • 1996
    Vulnerable
  • 1994
    Rare
    (Groombridge 1994)
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Population

Population
The western populations (1500-2400masl) are quite common, however the eastern populations (2200-2800masl) are very fragmented.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is threatened by the degradation of its subalpine pasture habitats by intensive overgrazing by cattle. In areas of tourism this snake (and other vipers) is often killed. The species is additionally overcollected for the pet trade.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species was included into the Red Data Books of USSR (1984) and Georgia (1982). At present, it is included in the Red Data Book of Russian Federation (2001) with the status and category 2 (as an endemic of high mountains of Great Caucasus). Populations occur in the Caucasian State Biosphere Reserve, Sochi National Park, Ineritza Relict National Park, Lagodejia Reserve, Tebergin Biosphere Reserve, Nozacetian State Reserve, Kobaljini High Mount. Reserve, Preelbrusia Mountain National Park, and in several additional lower level protected areas.
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