ArAves is nature conservation NGO, funded by Foundation for the Preservation Wildlife and Cultural Assets


ArAves aims to build bridges and connections between nature and people, mobilize local people and communities for biodiversity conservation and bring changes in attitudes and behavior of civil citizens towards nature and birds.


ArAves sees Armenian wildlife and habitats better conserved and protected due collaboration between the state, non-governmental organisations and civil society.

Board of Trustees

Wildlife Filmmaker, Producer, Photographer and Conservationist

Ruben Khachatryan

Ruben Studied at the Theological Seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. He studied Fine Arts and Film Directing, Global Environmental Management and Policy in Armenia, Georgia, Germany and Switzerland.

Ruben established the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) on Y2002. He directed many cultural and environmental projects, such as the SunChild International Environmental Festival, SOS Culture, Pan Armenian Environmental Painting Contest, etc.

One of his most important inputs in Conservation effort is the establishments of the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge (CWR) on Y2010, as a Privately Protected Area (PPA) with a surface of 30,000 ha., in Ararat and Vayots Dzor Regions of Armenia. CWR serves not only as a buffer zone surrounding the Khosrov State Natural Reserve, but offers wildlife migration corridors, too.

He is the Director of Yerevan Zoo, since Y2011. During his service years there, the Yerevan Zoo was transformed to match the EAZA Standards.

Ruben’s films were awarded many prizes in Armenia, the Netherlands, USA, France, Germany, Russia, Poland, etc.

Ruben was granted Armenia’s Presidential Award on Y2011, the Golden Medal of the RA Ministry of Nature Protection on Y2015.

On Y2018 He was awarded the Frankfurt Conservation Prize.

Global energy expert, writer, traveler, retired executive, and anti-trafficking advocate.

Vahan Zanoyan

Zanoyan has served as global energy consultant to numerous international and national oil companies, banks, and other private and public organizations throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and Latin America.  He has also served as a senior economic and oil policy advisor to many oil producing governments. He was President and CEO of PFC Energy for ten years, based in Washington, DC; the Chairman and Chief Executive of PFC Energy International, in Lausanne, Switzerland; and the founding Chief Executive Officer of First Energy Bank, based in Bahrain. He has also founded and ran several consulting services at Wharton Econometric Consulting Associates.

He has published two volumes of poetry in Armenian, (2010 and 2011); and three novels in English, A Place Far Away (2013) and The Doves of Ohanavank (2014), both of which were inspired by a chance meeting with a very young victim of sex trafficking, and The Sacred Sands (2016).

Zanoyan was educated at The American University in Beirut and at the University of Pennsylvania. He loves to travel, read, write, drink good wine, and supports several humanitarian causes, primarily aimed at stopping human trafficking and supporting victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence.

Conservationist, Scholar, WLT Chief Executive Officer

John A Burton

Every since he can remember John has always been passionate about wildlife, be it birdwatching with friends or rearing ‘rescued’ animals, and on leaving school he joined the staff of the Natural History Museum in London where he worked as an Assistant information Officer. He left the Natural History Museum in 1969 to pursue a freelance career initially as a natural history writer and journalist, but soon moved into conservation. With an extensive background in both journalism and conservation, John Burton has worked across many high profile international environmental organisations over the last 30 years, including Friends of the Earth and as chief executive of Fauna and Flora International. He set up the first TRAFFIC offices for IUCN, has been involved with the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Unit and was founding chairman of the Bat Conservation Trust.

John has also been a regular columnist with New Scientist, assistant editor of Animals magazine (now BBC Wildlife) and, in particular, a natural history author specialising in field guides including guides to European Mammals, North American Mammals and European Reptiles and Amphibians. John has also written six children’s books and edited several multi-author works including the National Trust Book of British Wildlife, Owls of the World and the Atlas of Endangered Species. He has also written several books on garden wildlife. He has written or edited over 40 books.

As a consultant he has worked for a wide range of government, intergovernment and commercial agencies, including USAID, the World Bank, CITES, DFID, HarperCollins, Wade Furniture Ltd, and English Nature. He regularly carries out consultancy particularly relating to endangered species listings (utilising one of the foremost collections of Red Data Books), and recently has specialised in training conservationists with particular respect to fundraising for land purchase, and also establishing small NGOs.

In the 1970s and 1980s John was a regular broadcaster, and this included being a presenter of several UK television series including Countrysearch, and with Johnny Morris in Animal Magic; he has also made regular broadcasts on the BBC World Service. Working with the Wildscreen Trust he carried out the feasibility study which ultimately led to the creation of ARKive in Bristol. ARKive is the Noah’s Ark for the 21st century, bringing together the world’s finest wildlife films, photographs and sound recordings to create vivid, fact-backed, multi media portraits of plants and animals that are available via its free website. In 1989 John co-founded the Programme for Belize, which was later to become World Land Trust and has been its CEO since its foundation. Programme for Belize was established to protect 110,000 acre of tropical forest which was about to be bought to make way for agriculture. The funds were successfully raised and Programme for Belize is now an independent NGO with its HQ in Belize City. John and the WLT Trustees moved on with the same formula for conservation: raising funds to buy land for ownership and management by overseas partner NGOs. Over the last 19 years WLT has gone on to fund land purchase and sustainable activities in Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, Mexico, Paraguay and the Philippines as well as assisting conservation activities in other parts of the world.

In 2005, John was appointed a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Biology of the University of East Anglia (Norwich), in recognition of the WLT’s work with its students. The Diploma course in Conservation and Project Administration is a collaboration between the University of East Anglia, in Norwich (UK) and the World Land Trust. In 2005 John was appointed to the Editorial Statutory Board of BBC Wildlife Magazine, and has been a Trustee of the BBC Wildlife Fund. In 2011 John was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from University Campus Suffolk (UCS).

John has now been Chief Executive of the World Land Trust for 29 years and during that time has worked with the WLT board and staff to raise funds to purchase and protect more than 600,000 acres of critically threatened tropical forest and other vital habitats which would be lost had the Trust not been able to step in. WLT works with 24 overseas project partner Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in whom the ownership of the land saved is ultimately vested. They create permanent nature reserves for the benefit of their biodiversity. Funds are raised from individuals, groups, corporate supporters and Trusts.

Politician, educator, government minister and schoolmaster

Ashot Bleyan

He was born in Yerevan, Armenia on 4 September 1955.

Bleyan graduated from Yerevan State University as a physicist. Together with Ashot Dabaghyan and Ashot Manucharyan, he co-founded School No. 183 now known as Mkhitar Sebastatsi Educational Complex in Yerevan, Armenia. Bleyan became the director of the school in 1989. After serving as vice president in the Yerevan Municipality’s Executive Committee, he was elected to the Armenian Parliament in 1990.

He was appointed Armenian Education Minister serving 1994 to 1995 in the government headed by Prime Minister Hrant Bagratyan. He became Vice Minister for the Ministry of Education and Science from 1995-1996.

Between 1994 and 2002, he served as president of the New Path (in Armenian «Նոր ուղի») political party.

Bleyan has number of publications in the pedagogical, educational, political and publicistic articles in newspapers and magazines, anthologies.

OBE, BSC (Hons), founder and CEO of International Animal Rescue

Alan Knight

Alan became interested in animals at an early age. He lived in Romford East London and surprised his teachers at the local comprehensive school by attending a career talk and announcing he wanted to work with butterflies rather than become a tool maker in the local factory. The career teacher laughed and said he would need to get a degree in Biology to even be considered and this was beyond the horizons of a lad from North Romford comprehensive school.

On Graduating from Sussex University with a BSC(Hons) in Biological sciences Alan looked for a job with butterflies but by this time had been exposed to the cruelty of hunting with hounds, vivisection, using marine mammals in captivity and a million other animal related problems. Alan volunteered for the Hunt saboteurs association and became a national committee member. He went on to volunteer for many animal welfare charities while running his own company making scientific instruments. In 1988 he set up International Animal Rescue and British Divers Marine Life Rescue two registered charities. In 1999 Alan decided to leave his job behind and work full time for IAR, he has been the CEO of IAR for the past 20 years and is also chairman of BDMLR.

Both charities are based in the same building owned by IAR in East Sussex.

Alan was awarded an OBE in the Queens Birthday honours in 2006 for his outstanding contribution to animal welfare, this came as a total shock to Alan as he had spent the majority of his life attacking the royal family for their hunting activities. He was also called a silly arse by Prince Philip at a royal reception which Alan considers to be as impressive as receiving the OBE!