NEWS ARCHIVE: FEBRUARY 2011

February 26, 2011 Website "BelTeleRadioCompany Video: In Belovezhskaya Pushcha today to say goodbye to Snow Maiden and Mother Winter

Send-off of main helpers of Father Frost was held at his residence. On the eve of Pancake week, visitors from Belarus and Ukraine were met with hot tea and pancakes. One could buy unique gifts in the masters' town made by local craftsmen. Burning of effigies of winter was the culmination of the day. For a long time this symbolic act by the Slavs meant the starting spring before long.

(Maiden)

(Father Frost ).

(You can see the video clip by downloading the file from here, in Russian)
February 26, 2011 Website "Capital Television (STV) Video: Belarusians and Ukrainians said goodbye to the winter in the residence of Father Frost in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

Many guests of the estate of Father Frost (Santa Claus) were greeted with traditional pancakes and Pushcha's fragrant tea. City of artists has been placed on the outskirts of the estate. A traditional attribute of this holiday - the burning of effigy of winter has also been in the program.

For two friends Margaret and Svetlana, the trip to Belovezhskaya Pushcha is a real boon. There is no tradition to say goodbye to the winter with such a large scale in their native Ukrainian city of Kovel. Father Frost and Snow Maiden have not remained guests indifferent.

Svetlana Trotsyuk, tourist (Ukraine):
This is a hospitable land. We were served here well. This forest is very beautiful and snow-covered. We saw Father Frost and Snow Maiden. We'll take home the most vivid impressions of your land.

Margarita Matveichuk, tourist (Ukraine):
I really enjoyed it. You have a very groovy dance around Christmas tree. Of course, I like the Carnival of Pancake Day. A fire is warm. It probably heats and connects the souls of the people.

The year 2010 broke the kind of travel record. Almost 330 thousand people from over 90 countries visited the National Park. The residence of Father Frost traditionally remains the main attraction.

Ludmila Grechanik, director of the Museum of Nature of Belovezhskaya Pushcha:
Enormous changes have occurred in our infrastructure: a new hotel was built, a restaurant was renovated, and a totally new building of museum was constructed. So, the number of tourists has increased.

Employees of the National Park are not going to stop at the level achieved. They are sure that the well-developed infrastructure and modern approaches to working with clients can turn Belovezhskaya Pushcha to a real tourist Mecca. A bypass road will also contribute much to this purpose.

Svetlana Bedok, head of the tourism department of Belovezhskaya Pushcha:
European people are aware of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. They tend here and show interest. So, of course, we need skilled professionals with knowledge of foreign languages. New tourist routes will be developed and equipped. All conditions to get comfort will also be created.

Economic benefits from such projects are visible to the naked eye. It is because the direct flow of currency into our country depends on the number of foreign tourists.

Father Frost and Snow Maiden
Father Frost and Snow Maiden
Treating
A blacksmith
A half-finished product
An effigy
Snowman
(You can see the video clip by downloading the file from here, in Russian)
February 25, 2011 Website "BelTA" To say goodbye to Snow Maiden and Mother Winter in Belovezhskaya Pushcha on February 26

Celebration "Farewell to Winter" will be held the 26th February at the Santa Claus's estate in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" as BelTA learned from the administration of the National Park.

The last weekend of the winter is by tradition to say goodbye to Snow Maiden and Mother Winter in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, as they are leaving the estate of Father Frost since the coming of spring.

Farewell to winter in Pushcha is always a great celebration. On Saturday, guests will be welcomed to test traditional pancakes Pushcha's fragrant tea in the Father Frost's estate. Local amateur groups have to create the atmosphere of celebration. City of artists will be placed on the outskirts of the estate. A traditional attribute of the winter holiday - the burning of effigies of winter will also be the part of this day.

It is expected to substantial flow of tourists in Pancake Day in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. More than 20 applications for participation from tour groups are already reserved. All interested individuals will also join the holiday. On February 26, additional buses running between the central tourist center and the estate of Santa Claus will be arranged at the National Park.

The Estate of Belarusian Grandfather Frost has taken its first visitors in December 2003. It is situated deep in the primeval forest of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, on the edge of the picturesque landscape where the bison go to feed in the winter season, and occupies the area of 15 hectares. A Santa Claus House with carved tower, a House of his granddaughter Snow Maiden, a Skarbnitsa (a storage house for gifts and letters) and many other attributes that accompany the fabulous hero are available there. A 42-meter spruce tree of the age of more than 100 years which is the highest natural Christmas spruce tree in Europe is the most important attraction of the estate.

Olga Kobyak
February 23, 2011 Website "Euroradio" Peasants fencing from bison

Four agricultural companies of the Pruzhany district have obtained twenty kilometers of barbed wire to save the fields from animals.

Bison, wild boars, red and roe deer leave the boundaries of Belovezhskaya Pushcha to get food on fields.

Wire will suffice only to block the animal tracks. It is expected to start works in the spring, as the newspaper "The Evening Brest" reported.
February 18, 2011 Website "BelTeleRadioCompany" Video: Moonshine in Belovezhskaya Pushcha is already being produced in an industrial scale

Facts of illegal activity are here fixed every day. But everyone can taste moonshine totally legal in the National Park, in special places.

By Svetlana Vechorko:
This is the famous moonshine of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. It is the original drink alcohol and one can purchase it legally at any catering point of the National Park. The Park has a license for its production and sale. But almost every day evidences of illicit distilling are brought out in the Pushcha's forest.

The scale of this illegal, so to speak business is staggering. In fact, we are talking about industrial production. So, last year law enforcement agencies of the Grodno region seized 102 moonshine devices in the Forest, including 23 mini-plants, over 100 tons of mash and a half and one tons of the finished brew. Brest law enforcement got more modest figures but still impressive. At the same time, the National Park produced and sold nearly 3-thousand liters of alcoholic beverage brand in less than 3 years of the license.

(Alexander Sharinda, Acting Director General of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", says)
To effectively combat this illegal activity is only possible together. Moreover, the issue has matured to such an extent that it even has been given by the President's instruction. So, today the issue of the interaction has been discussed in the National Park. The first interagency meeting of law enforcement authorities of the Brest and Grodno regions with participation of heads of local municipalities of two regions, in which borders Belovezhskaya Pushcha is, has been held.

(By Victor Morozov, the prosecutor of the Grodno region)

(By Sergei Hmaruk, the prosecutor of the Brest region)
Head of the Department of Internal Affairs of the Svisloch district Edward Shestak has nearly two decades fighting illegal distilling in his district. During this time, he managed at least to get rid of the stigma of "home-brewed edge". But a third of all seized illegal alcohol in the region is still brewed in the Pushcha's forests.

(By Edward Shestak, head of the Svisloch District Police Station)
Popular rumor about the Pushcha's moonshine is too deep. It is hopefully that over time it will acquire not only traditions but also civilized forms.

(You can see the video clip by downloading the file from here, in Russian)
February 17, 2011 Website "BelTeleRadioCompany" Video: On the present and future of national parks of Belarus - "Topical Interview" by Deputy Manager of the Department of Affairs of the President Yury Nazarov. See today on the First TV-Channel after "The Panorama"

National parks of Belarus are called the National Treasure. They are four in our country. They hold the gem of flora and fauna of our area. Unique natural systems today are the real centers of environmental and cultural heritage, recreation and tourism.
(By Yuri Nazarov, Deputy Manager of the Department of Affairs of the President of the Republic of Belarus).

(You can see the video clip by downloading the file from here, in Russian)

February 15, 2011 Website "21.by" Shots into conscience

Poachers hunted using a quad in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

Poachers caught a wild boar in an open field near the village of Omelenets, Kamenetz district. The beast had no chance to get away from the pursuers as the hunters chased it using a quad and a powerful light of the modern vehicle. Employees of conservancy service of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" became known about the wild hunt and they called for help from local police.

Sensing something was wrong and realizing that "hunt" already begun after them, the poachers left the killed boar and fled from the scene. But it did not save them from answering. After some time two unemployed had been detained, one of them is local and the second came to get the fresh game from the neighboring district of Brest. A rifle 12 caliber, 30 cartridges, 2 knives, an ax and the quad had been confiscated. A little later it became known the identity of the third hunter. Obviously, according to court he will also have to recover damages in the sum of five million Rubles (~$1,600) for the state budget.

"Respublica" newspaper
February 10, 2011 Website "Virtual Brest" The BelTeleCom company supported publication of the book "A Land of Power. Belovezhskaya Pushcha"

The Petrus Brovka's Publishing House "Belarusian Encyclopedia" presented books "A Land of Power. Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and "Radziwill Family. Album of Portraits of XVIII-XIX Centuries" at the opening of the XVIII Minsk International Book Exhibition-Fair. The publishing team was awarded the Belarusian President's Prize "For Spiritual Revival" of 2010 for creation of these books.

During the presentation Andrei Sobolev, deputy director general of BelTeleCom, said "It is a honor to know that BelTeleCom contributed to creation of the remarkable book "A Land of Power. Belovezhskaya Pushcha". We feel today a certain pride in the involvement and collaboration with the team of publishers.

I sincerely hope that this book will show a lot about Belarus to you, to our posterity and our neighbors, and will create an image of the strong state with the rich and diverse heritage. I would like to wish successes and reliable partners in the business of the team of publishers."

Source of information: http://www.beltelecom.by

February 09, 2011 Website "TUT.BY" Ex-leader of the "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" to get a job in the bank

Nikolai Bambiza. Photo by bymedia.net
Nikolai Bambiza. Photo by bymedia.net
Former head of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" Nikolai Bambiza was appointed deputy head of Innovative Development Department of the BelAgroPromNank, as the TUT.BY reporter learned it from the bank.

We recall, back in January the Belarusian media reported that the director general of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" Nikolai Bambiza, who held this position for ten years, was dismissed. The order of Bambiza's dismissal from the post as director "in connection with the transfer to another employer" was signed by Nikolai Korbut, Manager of Affairs of the President, on 13 January.

As the TUT.BY reporter learned from BelAgroPromNank, Nikolai Bambiza now has the work rank of deputy head of the Innovative Development Department of the Bank.

Nikolai Bambiza was appointed director of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" in 2001. From 1989 to 2000 he directed the Pripyatskiy State Landscape-Hydrological Reserve, which later went under the guardianship of the Presidential Department of Affairs and was reorganized into a national park (1996).

Now the National Park "Pripyatskiy" is directed by Stepan Bambiza, the brother of Nikolai Bambiza. Their cousin Ivan Bambiza headed BelNefteKhim (1997-2004) and then worked as Deputy Prime Minister (2004-2010). In early February he was appointed by the presidential decree as Deputy Secretary of State and a member of the Permanent Committee of the Union State (Russia-Belarus).
February 06, 2011 Website "BelTVRadioCompany" Video: A new cultural object appeared near Belovezhskaya Pushcha, that is sure to be interested for numerous visitors of the National Park

Tourists can get acquainted with the various traditions of the area of Belovezhskaya Pushcha in the Center of Crafts which was open in the village of Kamenyuki.

Svetlana Vechorko tells.

Indeed, such object was lacking in Kamenyuki for a long time. This is a true center of culture. Restoration of the former kindergarten took about a year and cost for the local budget almost 6.5 billion Rubles (~ $ 2.16 million). A music school, library, hall of marriage registration administration, village council, police and center of crafts and culture are now housed under one roof. This is the first object of this type in the Kamenets district.

(Grigoriy Bysyuk, head of the Culture Department at the Brest Regional Executive Committee says "Today there are 135 new types of cultural institutions in the region. They are houses of crafts and centers of folklore and arts, where folk traditions are not only preserved but also are passed on to the young generation.")

Even before the official opening of the Center of Crafts, groups to study wood carving, painting and embroidery were organized here. Plans are underway to create a manual manufacture of wool. There are masters in the Kamenets district who passed on the secret of felting boots from generation to generation. The main task of the Center is preservation and development of handicrafts.

(Tatiana Savich, master-methodologist of the Kamenyuki Center of Crafts and Culture, says "The children not only from Kamenyuki but also from neighboring villages are engaged.")
(Irina Kushneruk, director of the Kamenyuki Center of Crafts and Culture)
Today there is a mini-museum of folk art in the Center. Many interesting home tools of the area of Belovezhskaya Pushcha are among the exhibits. These are spinning wheels, coal irons, boxes for storing grain and products of local craftswomen. This loom is still good operational. Local seamstress can start master classes for tourists. When visiting Pushcha, they now probably will turn to the new Center of Crafts.

(You can see the video clip by downloading the file from here, in Russian)
February 05, 2011 Website "TUT.BY" Video: Life of the country's symbol comes under the hammer

Life of bison is put up for internet auction in Belarus. The auction organizer, the largest tour operator "TsentrKurort", offers all who wish to bargain for the lot - "a unique specimen of bison, a male which is not for free hunting". The hunting ground of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" is the hunting area. The initial cost of the lot is 40 thousand Euros.

The news provoked outrage not only to Internet users but also the Public Organization "Belarus Birds' Life". BBL Director Victor Fenchuk told us about how the organization views the situation. Representative of the Reserve "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" also commented the fact of sale of the bison life at the auction

Andrew Korovayko, Marina Shkilenok, Oleg Karpuk
(See video footage, please visit the original webpage or by downloading the file from here, 48 MB, Russian)
February 03, 2011 Website "EGIDA.BY" Life of bison from Belovezhskaya Pushcha is sold at auction

Bison
Bison is a symbol of Belarus
The State Establishment "TsentarKurort" which belongs to the Presidential Administration, has put up a bison for auction. Lot at number 15 is advertised as "a unique specimen, a male, not targeted for free hunting, originated from the reserved gene pool group". Bison is listed in a Red Data Book of Belarus.

The initial price of bison is 40 thousand Euros. The auction winner will have the opportunity to kill the animal of his own weapons in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, as well as take "trophy" abroad. The right for dissection of the bison is offered as a bonus. One can get instantly the life of bison if paying 50 thousand Euros.

Ecologist Valery Dranchuk "This is a continuation of commercialization. It's the direction of our troubles that came with the then presidential property's manager Ivan Titenkov. Such commerce, if it is already established, will be very difficult to take out. This way of making money is cynical because it is not through tourism, not books. It's very simple - put up and 50,000 Euros are in your pocket. This is a very easy way to earn money in the National Park."

On January 1, 2011, there were 392 bison in Belovezhskaya Pushcha and surrounding forests. The population compared with the previous year increased by 28 animals. Every year about 40 bison is born in the forest. Bison is a species which must be selected, as says deputy director for science of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" Vasiliy Arnolbik.

"Part of the bison heard was subjected to elimination that to recover the population, to obtain research materials, to study major causes of diseases and to reduce wasteful loss of animals which have no hope of recovery. Here, we can not exclude hunting and shooting."

330 bison were culled in this way over the past 30 years in the Belarusian part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha (for comparison, our neighbors in the Polish part did them almost three times as much), Mr. Arnolbik says.

"250-300 bison can be the best optimum for Belovezhskaya Pushcha in terms of food resources. This population can no longer live in the wild, as their natural habitat. It is managed and it can not live without a human support. Animals need additionally to be fed. Bison can not live now without a man."

Therefore, hunting of bison is allowed from time to time. Former research fellow of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, forest ecologist Heorhi Kazulka said that the issue is quite complicated as there are two circumstances.

"On the one hand, there are humanitarian issues. Indeed, this is a Belarusian treasure. Bison is lusted in the Red Data Book. On the other hand, there are environmental reasons. a lot of bison live in Belovezhskaya Pushcha while forage resources does not fit the situation. Pushcha can not feed so many animals. And there is a problem: what to do with too much livestock? Bison live in the wild. There are no many such places in Belarus while it is difficult to export bison abroad. So, managers look for the compromise like it. I think this is possible as an exception, but in the democratic state, in the case of public control and complacence with legislation. That's because violations can be in current circumstances and we know about such cases."

Organizers of the auction claim that it is held in accordance with the decree of the President and the Council of Ministers - that is all legally. The bison which was put up is old and sick, deputy director for science Vasiliy Arnolbik says.

"If you look closely, it walks on three legs and it has virtually no chances of survival. All of these bison usually live alone. The Commission evaluates such animals and put them into the reserved gene pool group."

Foreigners mostly come to Belovezhskaya Pushcha to hunt for bison, red deer, elk. They do it not for selfish ends (to get the booty, meat, fur) but for trophies that they can brag about. Previously, the cost of licenses to hunt bison ranged from 5 to 10 thousand Euros. Now the bison was put up for auction.

Vasiliy Arnolbik continues "It happens so that the selected animal dies before the arrival of hunters. So, they are unusual clients in some respect. It is incompatible for some of them because of moral principles. That's because the hunt for bison is not complicated if compared to, for example, the extraction of a predator, where there are passion and moral satisfaction."

Ecologist Valery Dranchuk expressed regarding to the auction as follows.

"There should not be here this trade: preparation, a bullet and get the head of bison. It demeans not only our nature but degrades our nation if we earn on this. This should not be used for sale. As Larissa Heniyush wrote, "green trade can not be good." She was referring to the nature of our country, in a high sense of the word.

February 2nd, the highest rate surpassed the auction price and the blitz was 50 100 Euros. A participant who staked on received a message about the possible victory in the auction and documents. But the payment for the lot was not done yet, so the winning bid was canceled. Value of the lot on the evening of February 3rd is again 40,100 Euros. The auction runs until March 2.

Inna Studinskaya, "Radio Liberty Life"
February 03, 2011 "Belorusskaya Niva" (The Belarusian Field) newspaper "Passport Office" of Belovezhskaya Pushcha

2011 will mark the beginning of the bison' universal census.

According to the new state program for conservation of the bison population of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, an identification number of the animal, information about its ancestry and place of habitation will be given in each special passport.

"The bison "ID" is as follows: here is written the beast is from this, its number and where some at least lives, told Marina Mikhailova, head of the Laboratory of Animal Genetics at the Institute of Genetics and Cytology, National Academy of Sciences.

The document will also have the data in six major genes of the owner because genetics is precisely what saved the life of the present bison species. At some historical point, there were only 12 representatives of the family Cavicorn! So, they bred in very limited options of its companion. As a result, all the modern descendants of the fall related to one another. The task of scientists is to determine who is more valuable for the "mother genetics", that is able to produce the healthiest offspring. Collecting data for the "passport" is beginning in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

"One shot from a special device, waited ten minutes and the beast falls. One came, took the test, introduced the antidote and the animal gets up, another ten or fifteen minutes more - and the bison went," Alexei Bunevich, a senior researcher at the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", described the procedure of the "census".

Then scientists "conjure" over DNA samples in the lab, saying a set of "spell" weird and strange to the uninitiated - inbreeding, nucleotides and alleles.

"If we still find individuals with some interesting mutations, all this will result in the future in recommendations made by zoologist-breeders who work directly with animals," said Yulia Medvedev, a youngest researcher at the Institute of Genetics and Cytology, National Academy of Sciences.

The passport of the bison will be on its ear. For example, all is clear concerning "the national number 5950" - it is in the zoo enclosures for the posts of "tourist attraction" and it obtained the document through the "workplace". But what to do with those living freely in the Pushcha's forest? The fact is that these animals tend to avoid close contact with people. It's like a cartoon about Prostokvashino: first, you'll be behind him a week to run to get the data, and then a month to give a passport. But Alexei Bunevich, many years watching bison in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, believes passports can also be distributed in the woods.

Ales Klimovich
February 03, 2011 "Sovetskaya Belorussia" (The Soviet Belorussia) newspaper Hard decision

"40 thousand Euros - one, 40 thousand Euros - two, 40,000 Euros - three! Sold Out!" Lot, put up for sale at the Center of Sanatorium Work "TsentrKurort", has caused serious resonance among environmental experts. Bidders are fighting for the right ... to hunt bison in the National Park Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

I go to the page of online auction. "A unique specimen, not for free hunting, a male bison is estimated in advance by the international system for 170 - 190 points", I read the description of the lot. Hmm, the characteristic is high. Tempting? Yes, for hunters. But no for environmentalists.

"According to the description, it appears that the elite beast is exposed under the hunters' gun", Fenchuk Victor, director of the NGO "Belarus Birds' Life" does not hide the perturbation. "It is so, although bison of the so-called reserved gene pool group are to be only for the shooting. That means the animals which are not involved in reproduction, with injuries and defects, and can be lost in the near future. But why not allow the animal to die a natural death?"

I was hastened to reassure from the State Establishment "TsentrKurort".

"The bison for the auction is one of the reserved gene pool group," main expert Vitaly Novichenko noticed. "These figures at the website characterize the captured animal's features, in particular its horns. That is what hunters usually use to estimate bison.

Specialists of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" clarified that the bison for auction has been injured, its rear leg had been severely damaged and the animal is doomed. This is why the decision to shoot it has been done. The permission has been obtained. Meanwhile, the auction continues.

Dmitry UMPIROVICH
February 03, 2011 Website "21.BY" A bison: sold!

A bison was sold through the Internet auction in Belarus. Members of the Belarus Birds' Life Public Organization are extremely indignant at this fact and sent a request to the State Inspectorate of Flora and Fauna of the President. The State Establishment "TsentrKurort" explained the situation.

The State Establishment "TsentrKurort", which belongs to the Department of Affairs of the Belarusian President, put up a bison for the online auction on the website "Hunting and Fishing in Belarus". The specimen was sold for 50,100 Euros.

In order to clarify the legality of the auction and recover the chronicle of preparations for the auction, the Belarus Birds' Life has sent a request to the Ministry of Environment Protection, Ministry of Forestry and the State Inspectorate for Protection of Flora and Fauna of the President on the legality of this action.

Chief specialist of the State Establishment "TsentrKurort" Vitaly Novichenko reported that the selection of bison is carries out every year. In addition, the company has permission to conduct the auction regarding animals from Belovezhskaya Pushcha and the Pripyatskiy Reserve. However, according to V. Novichenko, the "TsentrKurort" conducts the auction like this for the first time. The initial cost of the lot is 40,000 Euros, while earnings from the sale will go to the National Park.

The "TsentrKurort" noted that a bison from the reserved gene pool fund of the National Park was offer for the bid sale. If we consider the issue of bison hunting in detail, it should be mentioned that all Belarusian population of bison is composed of animals of the main and reserved gene pool groups. Bison of the main gene pool group belong to the type of animals listed in the Red Data Book of Belarus, and hunting them is forbidden.

Hunting for bison of the reserved gene pool group is permitted in cases stipulated by legislation of the Republic of Belarus. In order to enter an animal into the reserve fund, a commission is created. The commission provides the selection of animals that may be lost or defective. This commission which also involves experts of the Academy of Sciences approves the decision.

As to our case of the auction, it is for the bison which was entered to the reserve gene pool group of the National Park on the basis of the collective decision by all the rules on January 26, 2010.

The "TsentrKurort" noted that the holding of the auction is fully governed by the laws of the Republic of Belarus. The Regulation of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus of 27 October 2007, No 1408 "On some issues of preservation and management of bison" and the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus of December 8, 2005, No 580 "On some measures to improve the efficiency of hunting and fishing activities and to perfect public management" make the basis for bidding.

Holding the event like this provides a good opportunity to get additional funds for environmental activities at the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", which includes purchase of feed for animals, their maintenance and protection, in a word, set of necessary and important cases.

BDG Business Newspaper
February 02, 2011 Website "DATE.BS" Those who want to kill bison raised the price at the auction up to 55,000 Euros next day

: dic.academic.ru
The "TsentrKurort" proposed a rare animal for sale. It is expected that earnings will be spent on the development of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha".

The State Establishment "TsentrKurort" of the Presidential Department of Affairs put up a bison from Belovezhskaya Pushcha for online auction. The initial price of the animal is 40 thousand Euros. The winner will be able to kill the bison and even take it abroad. For only one day, on Wednesday, the stakes rose and hunters are willing to pay for 55 thousand Euros for the rare animal. Deputy Head of the Department of Tourism of the "TsentrKurort Sergei Sosunkevich told that the bison was chosen for the auction from sick, old and those animals which are unable for reproduction. A presidential decree and a regulation of the Council of Ministers allow shooting these animals.

Sosunkevich: "There were hunts for bison also before. Hunting is conducted only for animals of the reserved gene pool group. It can comprise old or sick animals which do not participate in the species reproduction. Bison hunting is regulated by two acts by the presidential decree and by regulation of the Council of Ministers."

Russians or the Europeans are usually the participants in this hunt. But they hunt for bison occasionally, says Sosunkevich.

"The hunt for bison is a rare phenomenon. It can be once a year, in the best case. The currently proposed bison was entered in the reserved gene pool group in 2010."

According to the employee of the "TsentrKurort", the means from this hunt go to development of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha".

Independent ecologist Valery Dranchuk calls this hunting wildness.

"National park is an area of nature protection and sanctity, and things like this look wildness. It is impossible to explain it, to justify or to give the status of normality in some way".

The ecologist rebukes the fact that our legislation provides an opportunity to hunt bison but does not allow private initiative to create the conditions for breeding these animals.

"If one had the opportunity to sell out bison of the reserved gene pool group, the rich people of Belarus could purchase bison, keep it in proper conditions and support nature. A man in private would create more protected areas. It is forbidden in our country."

Eighteen months ago, a plan for the long-term development of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" was produced," the ecologist says. This plan was developed by the Belarusian Academy of Sciences on the initiative of the Council of Europe. But according to Dranchuk, now the plan is not counted by the managers. Therefore, it provokes the cases like this hunt.

According to recent reports, about 230 bison (this figure is very wrong, the website editors' note) live in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Three of them were put into the reserved fund in 2010.
smie.35photo.ru

By Artem Martynovich, European Radio for Belarus
Photo from dic.academic.ru smie.35photo.ru
February 02, 2011 "Respublika" (The Republic) newspaper, No 20 Investor, come over here!


In 2011, the task is set to the Department "BelAvtoDor" by November 7 to complete the construction of the bypass road around the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and access roads to the nuclear power plant, to reconstruct the road Minsk-Mogilev and Minsk-Gomel, and to begin construction of the second ring road around Minsk city.
February 02, 2011 Website "The Exchange Leader" To trade the life of ... bison in Belarus?

News from Belarus, Minsk. The State Establishment "Center-Resort" is going to hold an auction in which the life of bison is put up as the lot. Announcement about the online auction is placed on the website "Hunting and Fishing" in Belarus. It is noted in the text that "a unique specimen - a bison for the gold medal" is called for bids. The auction will last until 28th February, and the hunt is planned within the land belonging to "Belovezhskaya Pushcha".

Local newspapers are concerned what is happening and believe that economic reasons are now higher than environmental. In connection with this auction, there are many questions that still remain unanswered.

For example, why go hunting for an animal that is not intended to be the object of a free hunt? Experts believe that it is a peculiar way to express that there is a de facto commercial hunting for bison in Belarus. Now inquiries to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection, as well as to the Ministry of Forestry and the State Inspection for Protection of Flora and Fauna to clarify the legality of the actions are directed.

Text by Alexandra Strigunovskaya
February 01, 2011 Website "TUT.BY" Elite bison from Belovezhskaya Pushcha to put up for online auction

The life of bison is put up for the internet auction in Belarus, as it was reported to the "TUT.BY" editor office from the Public Organization "Belarus Birds' Life" (BBL). The auction organizer, the State Establishment "TsentrKurort", offers to all wishing to bargain for the lot "a unique animal of bison, a male which is not targeted for free hunting". Its trophy dignity - "the animal for the gold medal valued at 170-190 points according to the international system CIC" - is described for marketing purposes. The hunting area is in the hunting ground of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha".

The decision on rating bison as the "reserved gene pool group", according to BBL, should be taken by a special commission created ion the National Park. The commission is composed of a head or deputy head, expert in game management or gamekeeper guarding bison, representatives of the State Veterinary Service at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the territorial bodies of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection and structural subdivisions of the State Inspectorate of Flora and Fauna of the President of the Republic of Belarus.

TUT.BY addressed for details in the State Establishment "TsentrKurort which organized the auction. Chief specialist of the enterprise Vitaliy Novichenko said:

"The selection of bison when they are shot by hunters is carried out every year, that's OK," Vitaly Novichenko said. "We have permission to conduct this auction which touches Belovezhskaya Pushcha and the Pripyatskiy Reserve. We represent the state agency and cooperate with all national parks.

The man who buys this lot will be able to kill this particular bison?

"Yes."

According to Vitaly Novichenko, the "TsentrKurort" provides the auction like this for the first time.

"Today we are trying to conduct this auction and we'll see what happens. The initial cost of the lot is 40 thousand euro."

The means received from the sale of the lot, where will they be used?

"In national parks. All this is done within the framework of public policy," Vital Novichenko explains.

Deputy director on science of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" Vasiliy Arnolbik explained that to kill bison as "a trophy-hunting kind" is really possible in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. But all this takes place in a special manner "A commission is created; selection of animals that may be lost or defective is prepared; the commission approves it; the Academy of Sciences also takes part in this".

"If the bison (for auction, by TUT.BY) is among the reserved gene pool group, it is not involved in reproduction.

Is such the auction good?

"There are rules and laws. We also adhere environmental standards. It's all legalized at the state level," Basiliy Arnolbik summed up.

The BBL's representatives express outrage.

"When the bison population has been divided into main and reserve gene pool groups a few years ago in Belarus and the category of "binary" species, questionable from an environmental point of view, has been introduced, the environmental community concerns that this will lead to commercial exploitation of the species listed in a Red Data Book. Officials responded that the main motive of enacting this measure is to take care of improving breeding characteristics of bison. It is no secret that the species was artificially restored and all bison living now in Belarus go back to the five ancestors. Therefore, in essence, all o them are close relatives with all its consequences - genetic diseases and vulnerable populations, and therefore, the selection steps are necessary for their survival. It was argued that the ad hoc commissions for culling, consisting of experts will be the guarantee against unreasonable elimination, that economic motives in this case are secondary to the actual environmental ones, and that the very method of extraction will be humane as far as possible.

Apparently, the commission has not helped, but economic reasons have overbalanced the environmental ones. Otherwise, how else to explain the fact that a bison, a male relating to the elite of the bison herd at all described features, is sentenced to death? It is a strange way of selection to clean the best. And how officials can explain the term "free hunt for bison" which is mentioned in the auction offer? What is it? Is this stupidity of those who placed the ad or is statement like that - the free commercial hunting for bison, which Belarusians to a misunderstanding continue to believe our national treasure, is de facto open in Belarus, despite the various commissions, regulations, acts, red and herd books? And even if free hunted, why "a male which is not targeted for free hunting" is put up for auction? Is it like it's forbidden, but if you really want, you can?" is talking in the BBL.

In order to clarify the legality and to restore the chronicle of preparations for the auction that then to eliminate the elite bison male, the Public Organization "Belarus Birds' Life" has sent the appropriate request of the legitimacy of this act to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection, the Ministry of Forestry and the State Inspection for Protection of Flora and Fauna at the President of the Republic of Belarus.
February 01, 2011 Website "Belarus Birds' Life" Who will pay for the death of the bison?

photo by Nicholas Cherkas
To what environmentalists have warned for so long and what officials have denied with the staunch face, it has come to pass the life of bison has been put up for the internet auction in Belarus. Holders of strong nerves and strong immunity to the cynicism can read the rules of the auction following this link. "A unique specimen of bison - a male which is not targeted for free hunting" is offered to all those who wish to bargain for the lot. Its trophy dignity - "the animal for the gold medal valued at 170-190 points according to the international system CIC" - is described for marketing purposes.

When the bison population has been divided into main and reserve gene pool groups a few years ago in Belarus and the category of "binary" species, questionable from an environmental point of view, has been introduced, the environmental community concerns that this will lead to commercial exploitation of the species listed in a Red Data Book. Officials responded that the main motive of enacting this measure is to take care of improving breeding characteristics of bison. It is no secret that the species was artificially restored and all bison living now in Belarus go back to the five ancestors. Therefore, in essence, all o them are close relatives with all its consequences - genetic diseases and vulnerable populations, and therefore, the selection steps are necessary for their survival. It was argued that the ad hoc commissions for culling, consisting of experts will be the guarantee against unreasonable elimination, that economic motives in this case are secondary to the actual environmental ones, and that the very method of extraction will be humane as far as possible.

Apparently, the commission has not helped, but economic reasons have overbalanced the environmental ones. Otherwise, how else to explain the fact that a bison, a male relating to the elite of the bison herd at all described features, is sentenced to death? It is a strange way of selection to clean the best. And how officials can explain the term "free hunt for bison" which is mentioned in the auction offer? What is it? Is this stupidity of those who placed the ad or is statement like that - the free commercial hunting for bison, which Belarusians to a misunderstanding continue to believe our national treasure, is de facto open in Belarus, despite the various commissions, regulations, acts, red and herd books? And even if free hunted, why "a male which is not targeted for free hunting" is put up for auction? Is it like it's forbidden, but if you really want, you can?

In order to clarify the legality and to restore the chronicle of preparations for the auction that then to eliminate the elite bison male, the Public Organization "Belarus Birds' Life" has sent the appropriate request of the legitimacy of this act to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection, the Ministry of Forestry and the State Inspectorate for Protection of Flora and Fauna at the President of the Republic of Belarus.
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February 01, 2011 "Vecherniy Brest" (The Evening Brest) nespaper A general snow-track inventory of wild animals to do in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"

It is expected that the general inventory of wild animals using their snow track will be done this week in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". Such surveys are conducted annually in the Reserve. They allow monitoring fluctuations in numbers of forest dwellers and, as a result, making the right strategy for management of populations. A slight thaw is considered optimal for conducting the winter inventory because the animal tracks are imprinted well in the snow. The weather forecasters predict a thaw in the week. Over 150 employees of the Reserve will perform the role of accountants. They will have to count all the inhabitants of the forest - from the marten and hare to bison.