Following the renovation, Baku Zoological Park has become a place for research, knowledge preservation and the conservation of animal species, where people can learn about the natural world, especially the rare fauna of Azerbaijan. One of the main tasks of the new Zoological Park is to protect endangered wildlife species and bring them back to nature through breeding programs.
A total of 125 species of animals have found shelter in Baku Zoological Park with conditions as close to their natural habitat as possible. 22 of them are listed in the "Red Book" of Azerbaijan. The breeding program makes it possible to increase the number of these rare species and return them to the wild. During this process species for breeding are identified from the phenotypical and genotypical point of view.
First breeding program of the Zoological Park will be carried out on the Red-Book-listed hawk family. The hawk family in the Zoo includes such species as the Bearded vulture, Egyptian vulture, Cinereous vulture and Griffon vulture.
The Bearded vulture is a large predator weighing 5-6 kg. There is a beard of stiff feathers under its chin. It has not been seen attacking domestic animals, even though it is called as the “lamb stealer”. The specie breeds in the alpine and nival mountain areas of Azerbaijan. According to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, there are 5 couples left in the mountainous part of the Greater Caucasus, which belongs to Azerbaijan. They are being monitored and protected in Zaqatala and Ilisu State Natural Reserves, as well as in Shahdag, Zangezur and Goygol National Parks.
The plumage of Egyptian vulture is painted white with long black feathers along the edges of the wings. Their diet consists mainly of carrion. These birds are settled in the foothills and mountainous regions of Azerbaijan. Breeds in mountain forests of Eastern Caucasus, highlands of Lesser Caucasus, Shamakhi-Altiaghaj, Nakhchivan midlands, Talysh steppes, Gobustan and foothills of Greater and Lesser Caucasus. Currently, there are only 40 couples left in the country.
The Cinereous vulture is also a large bird weighing 12-13 kg. The overall color is grayish-brown with black feathers. Their head is slightly bold. The skin, which is seen through the sparse hair, has a bluish tint. Vultures live in the foothills and mountainous regions of Azerbaijan. The geographical distribution has been remained unchanged but their number reduced to 38.
The head and neck of the Griffon vulture are covered with white fluff. It lives on steep rocks and breeds in mountainous areas. In 2007-2008, only 86 individuals of the Griffon were counted.
Hunting for these birds is prohibited. There were quite a lot of them in the country. However, as time passed, overhunting, forage deficiencies, and the destruction of trees and their nests decreased their numbers sharply, eventually listing them in the Red Book of Azerbaijan.
Baku Zoological Park plans to breed the above-mentioned species and other animals that are listed in the "Red Book" in order to restore their populations, bringing them back to nature.