Violations in the Wilderness Protection Zone: major illegal hunting for wild ungulates and bison, 2009

Violations: Articles 26 and 27 of Belarus' Specially Protected Wilderness Territories and Sites Act; illegal hunting; violation of the strict protection status of the Wilderness Protection Zone, the environmental balance within the protected forest, and damaging the biological diversity.

Events, facts, documents and evidence: On 10th of February 2010 an article "Hunting for bison" was published in the newspaper "The Evening Brest". It narrowed that on 15th of November 2009, a hunting for foreigners with participation of many local employees was organized in the compartment 171 of the Yazvinskoe forest area. A few wild ungulates and a bison were killed during this hunting.
(You can read more detail about this incident in the publication mentioned above.)

The compartment 171 is a part of the Wilderness Protection Zone of Belovezhskaya Pushcha where not only any economic activity including hunting but even the presence of unauthorized persons is strictly prohibited. So, the hunting with participation of beaters in the Wilderness Protection Zone is the very gross infringement of Belarus' Specially Protected Wilderness Territories and Sites Act and Regulation on the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha".
(More detail about the status of the Wilderness Protection Zone is described here.)


Some photos showing from the site of crime are given below.

A forest line cutting in the Wilderness Protection Zone is below shown in the photo. Presumably (according to the preliminary data which today are specified more), the hunting started from there. The ecological path "Yazvinskoe Oak Forest" also begins in this place.

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(A forest line cutting with a shield for the ecological path; compartment 171, November 30, 2009)

The compartment 171 of the Wilderness Protection Zone where presumably the hunting was organized is show in this photo.

(compartment 171, November 30, 2009)

This photo shows a compartment pole (compartments 170, 171 and 201) and a forest line cutting in the Wilderness Protection Zone where presumably hunters were standing.

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(A forest line cutting between compartments; compartment 171, November 30, 2009)

A track of the dragging portage on the forest litter in the compartment 171 are shown below. Presumably, it was resulted from a heavy body of the killed bison which was dragged on the ground.

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(A dragging portage presumably got from the boson body; compartment 171, November 30, 2009)

Leaves of the ground have blood marks of the killed animal here and there, presumably bison.

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(Blood marks on the leaves; compartment 171, November 30, 2009)

A disguised hiding-place where the internal of the killed bison have been dug is shown in this picture.

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(A disguised hiding-place; compartment 171, November 30, 2009)

The internal of the killed bison dug in ground are shown here. Militia inspectors extracted them from the ground.

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(The internal of the killed bison; compartment 171, November 30, 2009)

Thus, these facts evidently show that illegal hunting for bison listed in a Belarus' Red Data Book are organized in the Wilderness Protection Zone of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. This is a very gross infringement of the nature protection legislation simultaneously in several points.
According to unofficial information from employees of the national park, the cases of commercial and other hunting in the Wilderness Protection Zone of Belovezhskaya Pushcha are not single. It even could say that the practice of such kinds of hunting already got something common within the last years. Of, course, hunting in the Wilderness Protection Zone are organized in conditions of the top-secrecy. The case described above has become exception to this rule for the first time and thanks to "outflow" of information which got deep public resonance. A prosecutor office has initiated legal proceedings for this case. However, assurance of success in ending this offence to the final point and in just punishment for true-guilty persons is near nothing. That's because we deal with a too well-functioning mechanism of the departmental cover-up of the "important" offenders (so-called "the caste of untouchable persons") in conditions of the selective application of the law and the legal nihilism in modern Belarus.