NEWS ARCHIVE: FEBRUARY 2013

February 28, 2013 "Narodnaya Gazeta" (The People's Newspaper) newspaper Pushcha under a proper protection

A commemorative capsule under a future building of rescue post was solemnly laid in the village of Kamenyuki, Kamenets district.

This post ensures a proper protection for the oldest European forest against emergencies.

"The need in the construction of a new fire station is obvious because here, in the administrative and tourist center of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", more and more community facilities is appearing and the number of visitors is growing from year to year. So, their safety shall make sure", Head of the Brest Regional Emergency Management Constantine Shershunovich said.

Rescuers plan to move to the new one-story building by November. The construction is funded from the regional budget. In 2014, new technique will be there a fire car worth of 270,000 Euros will be purchased at the expense of the European Union under the Project "Protecting Bialowieza Forest Together." Another two similar machines will be delivered to the Emergency departments of Kamenetz and Pruzhany districts.

By Irina Orlova
February 28, 2013 Website "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" Without authorization and registration

Employees of the operative hunter service of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" arrested a resident of the Kamenets town in the Buffer Zone of the National Park near the village of Dashevichi on February 08, 2013. He poached using the shotgun, not registered in the police office. On February 12, 2013, two poachers were arrested near the village of Shcherba, Pruzhany district; a resident of the same village and a resident of Brest city. They also hunted without permission and using unregistered weapons.

Administrative reports on Part 1 of Art. 15.37 of the Administrative Code were drawn up and forwarded to the judicial authorities.
February 27, 2013 Website "Tourism and Leisure" European Cyclists' Federation to develop new routes

There are plans that the foreign cyclists, including those in transit, will be able to get into our country through the Polish checkpoint "Pererov-Bialowieza" which is bordering Belovezhskaya Pushcha. By the way, the National Park developed three cycle routes of the length of about 15 kilometers, as SEC Brest informs.

So, visitors can see in Pushcha a red oak imported from North America, a birch with a wart in the form of the "bison head" and a gigantic spruce tree. A former narrow gauge railway is also the object of interest. In 1915, during World War II, the vast territory west of the Bug River was occupied by Germany. The Germans immediately began the industrial development of the Forest. In just 18 months new owners covered the great forest with a network of narrow-gauge railway of 325 kilometers! Today, asphalted roads are in places of some narrow-gauge railways.
February 19, 2013 Website "Second National Channel (ONT)" Scientists will improve the gene pool of Belarusian bison

A hybrid-breeding center to improve the bison breed will appear in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

70 years ago the population of bison was revived from only five animals. Today, there are more than one thousand animals in the country, but the gene pool of this rare species is much weaker. Animals are poorly adapted and suffering much from illnesses. The new hybrid-breeding center will explore weaknesses, as well as exchange of the gene pool bison obtained from other countries. There is a little more than four thousand bison all over the world.

February 19, 2013 Website "BelTeleRadioCompany" Video: A hybrid-breeding center to improve the bison gene pool will soon appear in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

This was said by the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Protection Anatoly Lis. There are 4,000 bison in today's world. Of these, a little more than a thousand live in Belarus.

(Anatoly Lis, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus)
In addition, our country will very soon get more opportunities to participate in a special program for the conservation of European bison. Belarus will participate in this project after the accession to the Berne Convention. The decree about this was recently signed by the President. Recall, this is an international agreement which main goal is the protection of wildlife and natural habitats in Europe.

(Video can be viewed by downloading the file from here)
February 18, 2013 Website "BelTA" A hybrid-breeding center to improve the bison gene pool will be in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

A hybrid-breeding center to improve the bison gene pool is to appear in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. This was announced today at a press conference by Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus Anatoly Lis, as BelTA learned.

"We got conditions for work in this area after Belarus' accession to the Berne Convention, which has greatly expanded opportunities to participate in the international program for the conservation of European bison," Deputy Minister said. According to him, the close collaboration with foreign colleagues will do much to protect this rare species. The Polish experience will be used for creation of the hybrid-breeding center. In addition, the National Academy of Sciences is working to make the agreement with Russia, which is also planning to revive the bison population. There are studies for joint environmental activities with Germany.

Director General of the Research and Production Center for Bioresources at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus Mikhail Nikiforov also spoke about the need for and prospects of the Belarusian hybrid-breeding center. "The fact that once the bison population had to revive from only five surviving animals led to the impoverishment of the genetic background, to reducing the ability for adaptation and, as a consequence, to the impoverishment of the population," he said. The hybrid-breeding center will allow not only explore weaknesses of Belarusian bson, but also give an opportunity to exchange the gene pool of this rare species with other countries and well-organize the breeding between animals. The result of these actions will enrich the bison gene pool and improve the health of the entire population.

According to the expert, there are other problems regarding bison, in addition to the genetic ones. Their number has reached such a big scale that pastures are not enough - the animals have to look for food on the collective farms' field. The cooperation with other countries, especially with Russia, will help solve this problem. "Belarus is a small country, while Russia is a huge one. Moving bison to the Russian territory will ensure the conservation of this rare species in the long term," the expert said.

In today's world there are 4,000 bison. Of these, the largest population 1,100 - lives in Poland, the second largest - 1036 animals lives in Belarus.

The feature of the Berne Convention is to harmonize the conservation activities in Belarus. "Prior to joining the Convention, an important detail lacked in the environmental legislation of Belarus. All regulations focused primarily on the conservation of rare species of animals and plants, not regulating it with the issues of preservation of their habitats," Mikhail Nikiforov explains. "The Berne Convention emphasis precisely on this aspect of the conservation of flora and fauna." It is impossible to save a particular population from extinction without saving its habitat area. No matter what the conditions are created by man, the population is doomed if the absence of habitual living space. "But thanks to the accession of Belarus to the Berne Convention, a completely new security strategy in need of protected areas must be developed in the country," Mikhail Nikiforov said.

On February 7, 2013, Belarus acceded to the Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. The rules of this international treaty, aimed at humanizing hunting regulations in a particular state, were adopted by Belarus with some reservations. In particular, the list of strictly protected species in the country expelled wolf and otter. Moreover, Belarus is going to leave in the list some methods and tools of extraction of wild animals prohibited by the Convention (snares, traps (except loops), a semi-automatic weapon with a magazine of more than two cartridges, tapes to attract birds, etc.).

Belarus' accession to the Berne Convention will significantly improve the conservation status of hundreds of species of animals and plants living in the country. In addition, it will expand the capacity of the country to participate in the projects and programs implemented at the European level, such as the "Emerald Network" and the Program for Conservation of European Bison.

The Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats was signed in Bern on September 19, 1979. It is an international treaty for the conservation of nature, aimed at the protection of wild animals and plants and their habitats in Europe. The Berne Convention entered into force on 1 June 1982. At present, 50 countries (associations), including some African ones and almost all European countries, are the members of the Convention.

By Maria Dmitrieva
February 18, 2013 Website "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" The Berne Convention

On February 7, 2013, the President of the Republic of Belarus signed Decree No 70 "On Accession of the Republic of Belarus to the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats". In accordance with Article 20 of the Berne Convention, it will be mandatory for the Republic of Belarus in three months after the transfer of the instrument of accession to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

In preparation for Belarus' accession to the Convention, the preliminary work in Belovezhskaya Pushcha on the cataloging of species protected in the Berne Convention (in the course of the project "Emerald Network") has already done. Accession of Belarus to the Convention will expand and deepen cooperation on environmental issues between the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and its foreign partners.
February 14, 2013 Website "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" The National Park's zoning to assign in the Forest Management Project

The first Minsk Forest Inventory Expedition of the RUE "BelGosLes" did the work to update the taxation information and to make changes to the "Forests Management Project" of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". Updating the functional zoning, boundaries, protection and utilization rules in accordance with the "Regulations on the National Park" Belovezhskaya Pushcha", approved by Presidential Decree No 59 of 02.09.2012 "On Some Issues of the Development of Especially Protected Natural Areas", has been made. Changes actual after the forest inventory of 2004 and 2005 have been made. Forest inventory database has been updated. Economic activities outlined in the baseline forest management have been regulated in compliance with the new functional zoning, protection and utilization rules of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha area. Updating the taxation characteristics of the forest area has been done. The size of the forest use has been recalculated. Registers of the scheduled actions have been prepared. New tablets and other documentation, which is the basis of the daily work of the National Park, have been issued.
February 12, 2013 Website "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" Bison inventory is complete

Bison inventory was finished in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. It was carried out by the visual method.

The Park's staff had to find each bison, see and determine its sex and age. It is good that the herd of the forest giants has been steadily growing in the National Park. So, while there were 428 animals in 2012 (including 40 calve-yearlings), the inventory at the beginning of 2013 showed that 456 bison are now in Pushcha. This is about 100 animals more than the optimal number. That means in excess of the figure recommended by scientists for the area. 54 calves appeared in the Pushcha herd over last year.



February 10, 2013 Website"Capital TV (CTV)" Video: Goshawk actively hunts for decades at backyard in Kamenets district


Predators are terrorizing villages near Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The villagers lost poultry. Ferrets and foxes have long turned to the unfriendly neighbors there. Goshawks are the "owners" in backyards of the village of Sedruzh of the Kamenets district for decades.

Poultry only dream to be free because they walk only under the supervision of the mistress. Valentina Danilovna sees every morning and evening a hawk circling over houses and looking for another victim. Almost every yard has losses.

Valentina Matyuhevich:
Three victims are this year. Four were last year. The same situation is in the nearby village of Antony. Almost no one keeps chickens.

The proximity of the forest is one of the main causes of frequent hawkish raids on the backyards of the villagers, as said in the CTV "24 Hours" News Program. Moreover, according to ornithologists, this is a norm for the Pushcha area, not the exception. However, the locals do not like such the proximity to predators.

The Svistunov family moved to Sedruzh four years ago. During this time they managed to get acquainted with unfriendly neighbors.

Lyudmila Svistunova:
A hawk pecked two chickens. I saw it firsthand. We keep and feed them, we spend money, and lose a lot over the winter. Two winters ago, we completely lost all the chickens, because a ferret passed through our farm.
We put something big to flutter and scare. But I think they very quickly get used to it and react to almost nothing. They fear day or two, a week, and then fall like the stone to get the prey.


Goshawk eats rodents and some birds. It is more difficult to find food in winter, so the sharp-beak robbers fly to the villagers' farms. According to experts, the problem can be solved by a grid, not weapons.

Anton Kuzmitsky, researcher of the Scientific Department of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha":
The easiest way is to create some makeshift aviary for hens and shield it by the net from the top, so that the bird of prey could not fly down to attack and steal the home bird.
Birds of prey, even the most ordinary, are protected by Conventions.
If to use a method of rifle, you get nothing because another birds arrive in this place.


Not all the villagers are able to build the cage for birds. So, the way is only to take care of the chicken run, and to wait for the heat season. Then the raids are not so dangerous.

(The video can be viewed on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj4rli5cOrg&feature=player_embedded, in Russian)
February 07, 2013 Website "Arguments and Facts" The original "Belovezhskaya Agreement" cannot be found in Belarus


Photo by RIA Novosti

The original "Belovezhskaya Agreement," according to which the Soviet Union was dissolved, cannot be found in Belarus, as RIA Novosti reported.

Previously, it was found out that a copy of the document is only in the CIS Executive Committee.

"We paid attention to an emerging interest in this situation. Clarification of the actual situation requires work in the archives. We will see what we can do in this direction," the Press Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Belarus Andrei Savinykh said.

Ex-President of the Republic Stanislav Shushkevich, who signed the Agreement, said that he handed the paper protocol to the Foreign Service employees, and then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Petr Kravchenko has taking the document from Belovezhskaya Pushcha where the Agreement was signed.

In turn, Mr. Kravchenko said that he has the copy of the document, but does not own the original one. The former diplomat specifies that, after so many years, he cannot remember exactly how many copies of the Agreement were signed by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, three or one.

"Most of all, we have signed three copies - each for Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. But I do not rule out that the document was only one," Stanislav Shushkevich confirmed the Kravchenko's words.
February 05, 2013 "Vecherniy Brest" (The Evening Brest) newspaper Bison have again grown


Photo by Nikolai Cheberkus
The bison population in Belovezhskaya Pushcha is 1.5 times bigger than normal.

The winter wildlife survey has given the exact number of bison inhabiting the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". According to the Park's Deputy Director General for Science Vasily Arnolbik, there are 456 bison in the Forest t at present, while their optimal number for the Reserve makes 250 to 300 animals.

As compared to the last year, the bison population increased by 28 animals. Now the experts of the National Academy of Sciences are being worked at a resettlement program to settle the forest giants in other areas of Belarus, in particular, to the north of the country. The bison surveys are conducted by the visual monitoring of animals at the additional fertilizing spots.

Prior to March 1, it is planned in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" to conduct the scheduled surveys of ungulates and predators living within the Reserve.

By Elena Tribuleva
February 04, 2013 Website "TOMIN.BY" Bison census in Belovezhskaya Pushcha is complete. The new record makes 456 animals.

On February 4, the exact figures became known - 456 bison dwells in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". This is the winter census data.

"The Belovezhskaya Forest was preserved because bison lived in it; and bison was survived because the Forest existed", as said by the famous zoologist S.A. Severtsov in 1939.

In 1919, the last free-living she-bison was killed in the Forest. So, the last population of these animals was annihilated. Only a small number was kept as earlier exported in zoological gardens and zoos in Europe.

Omit the recovery steps of the herd. By 2012, the biggest bison herd in the world - 910 animals (428 on the Belarusian side and 482 on Polish one) - was created in the Forest.


By Tamara TIBOROVSKAYA
February 04, 2013 Website "ABW.BY" A bypass around Belovezhskaya Pushcha is still not on maps

But the situation should be changed in the near future. The road bypassing Belovezhskaya Pushcha will be drawn on maps, as the Pruzhany district newspaper "Raennya Budni" learned from the deputy chief of the Enterprise "BrestAvtoDor" S.Panchenko.

The new road was put into operation last year. The section of it in the Brest region is served by the Pruzhanskoe Road Service Enterprice-25. Letters were sent to the Republican Committee of Geodesy and Cartography to explore the possibility for changes in road atlases of the Brest region, and to enter relevant information into the GPS-navigation.

It is assumed that updated road directories of the region will be on sale in the near future.

February 02, 2013 "Nasha Niva" (Our Field) newspaper Bialowieza Forest in old postcards and prints + photo


Greetings from the Forest (cards of the 1920-s to 1930-s years)
The ancient Bialowieza Forest has long been interested by people.

Drawings and photographs with its images adorned old books and postcards. Let's try to see only the bit, which is now sold on Polish auction allegro.pl.

Most cards associated with the Bialowieza Forest have no geographic reference to the place and only reflect the landscape, local people or animals at the time of photographing or making.

The Polish government and corporate printers and organizations have tried in the interwar period to popularize the Bialowieza Forest in different ways.

So, "Pushcha Brothers" and the Society of Students of Public for Schools Forest Officers in Bialowieza issued a series of cards, which presented landscapes of the Bialowieza Forest. But the symbol of the Forest - bison - is portrayed in Polish postcards not so often. During the First World War, these animals have been annihilated completely. Attempts to restore the population began by the Polish authorities only in 1929.

Bison can be seen more common on the older engravings of the XIX century, as contemporaries could still meet autochthonous of the forest and draw it.

Thanks to those drawings, we can see the icons with images of the then inhabitants of the Forest. Cards can be purchased at the Polish auction for about 10 Euros (no post forwarding).

Engravings are more expensive than cards - from 30 to 60 Euros.

By Ruslan Revyako
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