NEWS ARCHIVE: MARCH 2008

March 27, 2008 BP-21 Website News Service Dumping down a house of culture in Belovezhskaya Pushcha this summer and wood last spring

BP-21 Century News reported earlier of how Kamenyuki’s spacious community centre was pulled down ,and what was left of it taken to a local dump and buried in summer 2007. News of another “dumping down” – this time of wood and saw log from a woodworking factory in the village – broke recently. This was resulted from inefficient wood-processing in the National Park.

Between 2002 and 2005 the national park was yet again under attack from eight-toothed bark beetle. The outbreak appeared, unlike any other in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, huge both in number of this monster pests and its toll on the nature. Back then the beetle battle was being waged by massive tree felling and extracting. While the effort centered around it the woodworking factory was flooded with wood it could not possibly cope with. That meant that, at the end of the day, the quality of the output deteriorated, eventually below zero. And with the sales badly organized, the processed wood was doomed to rot and further lose its commercial value piled up on the premises. The stocks in the meantime were also backed up by large amounts of decaying and still untreated wood..

In winter 2008, ahead of a full-scale inspection of the park an order was given to clean up the mess by loading and carrying away the damaged stocks. As a result, each ranger station around had to take on charge of some 1,000 cubic meters of the wood, a local source said. Taking into account the number of the stations, the figure in cubic meters the factory might have disposed of, allegedly, ran to at least 10,000.

Already at the start of March, some villagers of Kamenyuki (the administrative centre of the national park) could be seen poking around at a dump near the factory and taking home the buried wood and its leftovers. A generous gift it was for them it may seem in view of how they were previously harassed for picking even trifling refuse wood there. A large amount of the destroyed saw log appeared to have been dumped and partly bulldozed into the ground at a site of last year’s burial of the demolished community centre’s rubble. The locals were allowed to treat themselves to a portion of it for their needs. For two weeks the dump had been experiencing a true “business boom”, sources in the village say. Some would carry the wood away in cars, others would use tractors, motorcycles or bicycles. Among the waste one could fish out quite a few of rather good and still valuable pieces. Even half beams of oak are said to be lying somewhere under. They might be dug up by someone in future as those stone-hard and centuries-old morainic samples taken out of their wetland beds today.

This "fruitful" cooperation between the administration of the National Park and local villagers assured some spring-cleaning for a good area of the dump. What happened though can be thought of as mismanagement in local woodworking on a large scale. Instead of efficient sales, the wood was left to rot and later on thrown away. On top of it can be seen more acute issues with keeping records of wood stocks, according to locals and employees at the national park. That may lay ground for corruption. Such is the result of the work the visiting inspectors carried out in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.
Down with wood and saw logs at dump - click to open in the new window Down with wood and saw logs at dump - click to open in the new window Down with wood and saw logs at dump - click to open in the new window
Down with wood and saw logs at dump - click to open in the new window Down with wood and saw logs at dump - click to open in the new window Down with wood and saw logs at dump - click to open in the new window
More on that read and see in Photo Fact, Chronicles of primeval forest destruction in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, at this link "Down with wood at dump next to woodworking factory, 2008".
March 24, 2008 Website "Tut.By" A European Diploma will be renewed for Belovezhskaya Pushcha after the National Park's management plan to be approved at the national level

A European Diploma should be renewed for Belovezhskaya Pushcha after the National Park's management plan to be approved at the national level.

Dmitriy Bernatskiy, the deputy director on science of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" has informed to the BelaPAN News Agency that this kind of decision has been made from the results of the CE experts' session on awarding the diplomas to protected areas which was held on March 17 in Strasbourg (France). As he said the ÑÅ representatives want to examine the final version of the management plan which "should meet the European standards and should fully satisfy to its purpose", so they ask to bring or to send the plan to Strasbourg after it will be approved at the national level.

According to Mr. Bernatskiy, the complete document is planned to approve by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection within the coming months.

It's the Bernatskiy's opinion, "the constructive dialogue" between the Council of Europe and the Park's administration took place in the course of the experts' session in Strasbourg. "They have appreciated our work very well and have said that we have reached a very big progress and we have made much. Everything is basically O.K.", he considers.

Let's remind that the European Diploma is a prestigious award granted for nature protection achievements of national parks and reserves. The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" has gained the Diploma in 1997 for successes in conservation of its wild nature.

To renew this award, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection of Belarus had to develop the management plan for the National Park for the following 10 years and to present it at the session of the CE Committee on Conservation of Biological and Landscape Diversity by October 9, 2007.

However, it failed to prepare the plan by this date. Instead of it the Ministry of International Affairs of Belarus has submitted for consideration a letter to the CE Committee in which the reasons of delay in preparation of the plan were explained and it was also affirmed that nature protection and economic activities conducted in Belovezhskaya Pushcha are in adequacy of requirements and recommendations of the Council of Europe. Then the Committee has taken into account explanations of the Belarusian party and the consideration of the Diploma's issues was rescheduled on November 29, 2007. However, consideration of the issues on prolongation of the European Diploma for Belovezhskaya Pushcha, resulting from the session of the Permanent Committee of the Bern Convention in November last year, was again postponed.

BelPAN
March 21, 2008 "Respublika" (The Republic) newspaper, No 54 The oldest forest of Europe: the European community has recognized the management plan for Belovezhskaya Pushcha and has approved the European Diploma

Nikolai Bambiza, the director of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" has brought a good message from Strasbourg. The plan of development of the National Park made by Belarusian scientist is approved at the session of the experts' Commission for the Bern Convention of the Council of Europe. The document is recommended as a main guiding tool for further activities on conservation of the oldest forest in Europe.

At the end of the next year the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" will celebrate the 600th anniversary since the first nature protection status. The birthday of the Reserve was calculated recently. The scientists have found out that the 11 December, 1409 is the first official record in the historical chronicles about ban on hunting in the Pushcha for mere mortals. That year Polish King Yagailo and Grand Prince Witowt (the Grand Lithuanian Duchy) has organized a big hunting there. The companions provisioned warriors for forthcoming battle of Grunwald with the knights of the Teuton Order.

In 1997 the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" was awarded with a special Diploma of the Council of Europe. This award is not given for ever. It should be confirmed by nature protection measures and observance of the recommendations of the Council of Europe in each five years. The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" fully following these rules has achieved such the endorsement in 2002. However, after this the right of approval regarding the above mentioned Diploma was handed by the CE Cabinet Council to the Permanent Committee for the Bern Convention. Being under influence of invalid information they have begun to doubt in competence of possession of the prestigious Diploma. They said there is no due order there - Belarusians mercilessly cut the Pushcha's forest, they have constructed a gas-holder, and the people are reluctantly allowed to enter the area. An expert on the Bern Convention was convinced coming to the Pushcha that all of these are lie.

The Nikolai Bambiza's speech, the general director of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", which was made in Strasbourg at the session of the Permanent Committee for the Bern Convention in November last year, has also had effect on changing views on the Pushcha from the direction of this organization. The management of the Reserve especially is proud of the fact that they could execute the most difficult of the recommendations and has enlarged the territory of the National Park almost twice, up to 152,000 hectares. This labour-intensive and non-quick process has not allowed executing only one of the items of the CE task. The management of the Reserve had no time to develop the so-called management plan with the regard for newly-joined areas because forest inventory works as a preliminary should be conducted there. Today such the plan already exists. He was created with the help of Belarusian scientists and was sent to Strasbourg. One of these days Nikolai Bambiza was invited there and he confidently has defended prestige of the Belarusian treasure reporting from the international tribune.

Fedor MUKHA
March 21, 2008 Website "Naviny.by" The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" has began to breed Fallow deer

Taisia Skuratova, a senior expert of the information sector of the Nature Protection Institution, has informed to the BelaPAN News Agency that 83 animals of this species were purchased for this purpose in Poland. A special fenced enclosure of the area of 2,000 hectares was constructed in the Pashukovskoe forest area to host the animals delivered to the Pushcha in the middle of March.

Taisia Skuratova has noted that Fallow deer first were delivered to Belovezhskaya Pushcha in the middle of the XIX century. In 1885 their number was over 700. During the First World War they were completely exterminated by predators and poachers. The second attempt to breed Fallow deer was undertaken in the early 1960-s but unsuccessful. It's the scientist's opinion that Fallow deer being freed became the predators' prey.

The purpose of the new project is to restore the Pushcha's fauna and also to breed and keep Fallow deer that than to settle them in Belarusian forest enterprises and game ground areas.
March 19, 2008 Website "Liozno Regional Executive Committee" Belarus has potential to develop any kind of tourism, Alexander Grigorov says

Belarus has all the possibilities to develop any kind of tourism, be it ecological, agricultural, cultural or sports tourism, Alexander Grigorov, the Minister of Tourism and Sports, said at the presentation of the Belarusian tourist potential in the embassy of Belarus to Russia on March 18. Attending the meeting were representatives of the diplomatic missions accredited in Moscow, the Government of Moscow and Russian parliamentarians. According to Alexander Grigorov, Belarus has rich historical and cultural heritage. Unique castles, temples and other architectural sites survive in numerous towns of Belarus, including Novogrudok, Nesvizh, Polotsk, Turov. Four objects of Belarus have been inscribed on the list of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage – the Mir and Nesvizh Castles, Belovezhskaya Pushcha and Struve Geodetic Arc. Eco-tourism amateurs can visit four national parks, the Berezinski biosphere reserve and 84 wild sanctuaries. For those who love active rest, there are numerous tourist facilities, three skiing resorts and sports objects in Belarus. Belarus takes an active part in different international forums to popularize its tourist potential. Belarusian large-scale expositions have been recently presented in Moscow, Berlin, Warsaw, London, Beijing and other cities.
March 18, 2008 Website "The Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in Russian Federation" Belovezhskaya Pushcha will appear showing a renovated shape for the visitors in 2009

The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" will appear showing a renovated shape for the visitors in 2009 when the 600th anniversary since establishment of first protection decrees.

Sigizmund Kezhun, the chief-forester of the National Park, has told to the BelTA News Agency that the open-air animal enclosures will be reconstructed in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. "We plan to replace the old enclosure seating by the new and to haul new grids", the interlocutor has told. So, visitors will get more comfortably observing the dwellers of the National Park". The plans are also to install a new watch-tower that all wishing could see the animals of Belovezhskaya Pushcha in natural conditions. A new food facility for animals created with use of modern technologies will also appear in the National Park.

Red deer, elks, fallow deer, wolves, wild boars, foxes, badgers, raccoon dogs and, certainly, bison, this powerful and beautiful animal which personifies force and beauty of nature, are now living in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. "Our main task is to save these surprising animals that the future generation could see them", the interlocutor has noted.

Sigizmund Kezhun has also told that the number of the inhabitants of Belovezhskaya Pushcha will increase by the end of year. The National Park plans to purchase Tarpan-like horses – descendants of the European wild horse - for further breeding works in the Pushcha. These animals are of a small height, a strong constitution, with grey body colouring and with a black mane and tail.

Belovezhskaya Pushcha is one of the oldest reserves in the world. In 1992 Belovezhskaya Pushcha was inscribed by the UNESCO decision on a List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites. In 1993 a Biosphere Reserve status and, in 1998, a key ornithological area status of international importance were given to Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The National Park's north to south width is over 60 km. The Park covers 163,505 ha. The Wilderness Protection Zone where any human activity is forbidden occupies about 20 percent of the whole area.
March 17, 2008 Website "Naviny.by" The representatives of the Belarusian community whish to take part in development of the management plan for Belovezhskaya Pushcha

The representatives of the Belarusian community has declared their wish to participate in discussions and development of the management plan for the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". They has addressed an appropriate letter to the Property Management Department of the President of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection, the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and to the Council of Europe.

The authors of the letter, among them Heorhi Kazulka, a famous ecologist, PhD of Biology, the former deputy director on science of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", and Valeriy Dranchuk, an independent journalist and an author of the book "Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The Resolution SOS" (2004), state concern about the situation in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

"First of all, we are worrying over deficiency or a lack of information on a number of important and dramatic issues related to Belovezhskaya Pushcha and its preservation", Heorhi Kazulka has informed to the BelaPAN News Agency. "Because of this we, the representatives of the Belarusian society, have some obstacles which interfere with us to get the proper participation in discussions on Belovezhskaya Pushcha's problems and make difficult preparation of the offers which could promote their decision".

On the basis of rights of the Aarhus Convention, the authors ask the state bodies to provide assistance in acquaintance with the draft management plan for the Park and with materials related to its preparation, as well as with the schedule of working meetings on which discussions on this issue are planned.

"The experts' duty is to develop the management plan. The employees of the Academy of Sciences and of the National Park are today engaged in it. However, according to the Aarhus Convention, it should by made publicly. That means the management plan before being approved should be put for public discussions at any stage of the development and its final version should be accepted with considering the public opinion and requirements. In this case the introduction of the plan will not be considered as any departmental and lobby measure, on the contrary it will be in compliance with the rule – to be publicly and to follow democratic standards", Heorhi Kazulka has declared to the BelaPAN.
March 17, 2008 BP-21 Century Website News Service The representatives of the Belarusian community has declared its desire to participate in discussions and development of the management plan for the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"

Inessa Zenina, Valeriy Dranchuk, Heorhi Kazulka, Victor Bakharev and Mikhail Kozel, the representatives of the Belarusian ecological community, have addressed a letter to the Property Management Department of the President of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection, the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and to the Council of Europe in which they expressed concern over the conditions in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, asked to inform them about the progress in preparation of the management plan for the National Park and declared the desire to participate in discussions and its development.

It is said in the letter, in particular, the following. "We, the citizens of the Republic of Belarus who consider the Belovezhskaya Pushcha as a national natural treasure are deeply concerned about the problems and the situation in which this unique Belarusian natural area is involved. First of all, we are worrying over deficiency or a lack of information on a number of important and dramatic issues related to Belovezhskaya Pushcha and its preservation. Because of this we, the representatives of the Belarusian society, have some obstacles which interfere with us to get the proper participation in discussions on Belovezhskaya Pushcha's problems and make difficult preparation of the offers which could promote their decision.

Using the right on free access to information guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, the Low of the Republic of Belarus "On Especially Protected Areas and Objects", the Clause 16, the Law of the Republic of Belarus "On Protection of the Environment", the Clause 5, and the regulations of the Convention on Access to Information, Public Involvement and Public participations in decision making process and access to justice on environmental issues (the Aarhus Convention), the Clause 6, we express desire to get proper participation in working meetings on preparation of the management plan for the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and we offer you to render us the necessary assistance for this and help, in particular:
  • To inform us about intentions and the program on public involvement into the management plan's discussions;
  • To get us acquainted with the schedule of working meetings on the management plan's preparation;
  • To get us acquainted with information and other relevant materials which concern the management plan's preparation, as well as with the draft version of the management plan;
  • In time (5 days prior to the scheduled date) to inform us about the date, time and the place of the nearest (and each next) working meeting on the management plan's preparation
The representatives of the community also remind in the latter that thy "addressed their appeal to the Ministry of the Council of Europe and mean further to influence upon the decision making process that would promote conservation and sustainability of biological and recreational heritage of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. We offer mutual cooperation and we hope to get quick response to our questions", is said in the letter.
March 13, 2008 Website "Belarus TV and Radio Company" Fallow deer return to Belovezhskaya Forest after nearly a hundred years

Today exotic deer were released into a special enclosure. The National Park has purchased 83 individuals grown by Polish animal farmers. The BRB 200 million project is dedicated to 600 years since protective regime was introduced in Europe’s oldest forest. Tarpans that roamed the forest two centuries ago will also be reintroduced here. Fallow deer population is being restored for tourism and distribution purposes.

Sigizmund Kezhun, Belovezhskaya Pushcha chief forester

March 12, 2008 Website "STV (Metropolitan TV)" Belovezhskaya Pushcha is going to celebrate the 600th anniversary

The plan of actions to celebrate the anniversary in 2009 is already approved.

The regulation on establishment of nature protection in the National Park is signed. By the anniversary's day it is planned to build the administrative and ecological centre together with the new museum, to improve the area around them, to equip objects of the Belarusian Grandfather Frost's manor with modern amenities and to reconstruct the hotel.

Four new ecological routes will also be developed and the complete overhaul of the enclosures with wild animals will be made. One will have the possibility to admire the vicinity from a watching tower and to read overall information about the Reserve in colourful albums and booklets. By the Pushcha's anniversary a memorable coin will also be issued.
March 10, 2008 "Ezhednevnik" (The Daily Newspaper) The National Park to blossom

2009 will see the 600th anniversary since the introduction of reservation conditions in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The Belarusian government plans to spend over BYR 60 billion or $ 28 million for a large-scale national park beautification project to mark the celebrations.

The project is set to complete between 2008 and 2009 and will, firstly, focus on building new and refurbishing old infrastructure. An estimated BYR 9.1 billion or $ 4.2 million is to be allocated for a new administrative and ecological centre which will house a museum of nature. The work on its construction is due to begin in 2008 and the centre is to open its doors to the public on the official day of the anniversary celebrations. A renovated and refashioned building of the old nature museum is supposed to become a restaurant.

Project arrangements for 2008 also include a construction of a new restaurant, a modernization of Hotel #2 which is in the village of Kamenyuki, and a construction and improvement scheme for a number of facilities in the manor of Belarusian Grandfather Frost.

A new observation tower, four new eco paths and two new tourist complexes, Lavy and Romanovtsy, will be designed and created for tourists. In addition, open-air animal enclosures and six ranger stations will be completely revamped.

Apart from the above, considerable sums are set aside for developing social infrastructure and improving local settlements. The credit will fund the construction of 25 houses for National Park's specialists – 15 houses will be built in the village of Kamenyuki and 10 in other villages within the National Park. Shops #1 and #2, cafe Alesya and the bath and laundry house will be modernized inside and out.

In Kamenyuki, complete renovation is planned for apartment blocks of the total area of 11,293.1 km2, the post office, the school and the village council. The jewel in the crown will be a renewal of the water supply and sewerage infrastructure in the village. Design and construction of a state-of-the-art system of complete wastewater biological treatment is also in plans.

Over BYR 24 billion or $ 11 million will be provided to reconstruct old and build new roads which lead to the National Park – firstly, it means Hwy P-83, including a reconstruction of the bridge over the Lesnaya River. About BYR 10 billion or $ 4.6 million will be spent on improving roads in the Park.

Substantially less will be spent on forest management – approximately BYR 3.41 billion or $ 1.46 million, of this BYR 3 billion will be used to reconstruct the woodworking factory. Only BYR 200 million or $ 93,000 will be allocated for nature conservation (namely for dispersal and reintroduction of wild animals) and BYR 210 million for forest cleaning and arrangement new recreation areas. Compared to it is BYR 400 million or $ 186,000 for a 2009 republican eco forum in Kamenyuki. A trifling BYR 110 million will be spent on science in the National Park.

The above figures show the commitment of the government to give Belovezhskaya Pushcha a refined look and make it an ecological mecca in Europe in 2009. UNESCO is to participate in some project activities but the Presidential Property Management Department and the republican budget will bear the lion’s share of costs.

Alexandr NADISHIN
March 06, 2008 Website "BELTA News Agency" Nomination portfolio of Polotsk landmarks and Augustow Canal are submitted for UNESCO expertise

Nomination portfolio “Tangible Spiritual Heritage of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk” and transborder (Belarusian-Polish) facility “Augustow Canal: a work of nature and a human being” were submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, BelTA learnt from head of historical-cultural legacy and restoration department of the Belarus Culture Ministry Igor Chernyavski.

The nomination portfolio will be examined by UNESCO experts who will come to Belarus to discuss the matter on the site after which the given historical specimen are to be inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The material for the nomination portfolio “Fortifications of the Brest Fortress” is being currently prepared. The plans on the table are to draw up the portfolios “Specimen of Wooden Architecture of Polesye” and “Fortified Churches of Belarus”, the main sites being located in the Vitebsk, Gomel and Grodno oblasts. In line with the programme on developing culture by 2012 Belarus intends to make portfolios of five more landmarks for submitting to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. At present four historical specimens located on the territory of Belarus have been included in the World Heritage List – the Belovezhskaya Puscha (1991), the Mir Castle (2000), the architectural-cultural complex of the residence of the Radzivills in Nesvizh and the Struve Arc (2005).
March 06, 2008 Website "Naviny.by" The State program on development of the system of especially protected natural territories to accept in Belarus

The President of Belarus, by the decree No.146, has ratified the State program on development of the system of especially protected natural territories for the years from 2008 to 2014, the BelaPAN Information News Agency informs.

The press-service of the head of the Belarussian state has informed that the State program is aimed at perfection of the system of especially protected natural territories (EPNT) in order to preserve ecological systems in their natural conditions, to conserve biological and landscape diversity and to optimise the use of tourism potential on these territories.

For realization of this program within 7 years, it is planned to allot 74.2 milliards Roubles (~36 millions US $) from various sources (from the state budget, the state fund of nature protection, the own means of organizations and international technical support). It is supposed to use finances for eight basic priorities. In particular, 44.3 milliards Roubles (22 millions US $) are allocated for development of tourism activity. Money will be used for building and reconstruction of objects serving rest and tourism in the national parks "Braslav Lakes", "Narochanskiy", "Pripyatskiy" and for development and arrangement of new tourist routes.

It is supposed that the number of tourists annually visiting the EPNTs can be reached 1 million. by 2015. It is expected that the volumes of tourist services will also make not less than 20 milliard (10 millions US $) Roubles per year, the press-service of the President informs.
March 06, 2008 Website "Naviny.by" The issues on renewal the European Diploma for Belovezhskaya Pushcha to consider in Strasburg

The issues on renewal of the European Diploma for Belovezhskaya Pushcha will be considered on March 17 in Strasbourg (France) at the session of the experts' commission on awarding diplomas to protected territories, Nikolai Bambiza, the director of the National Park, has informed to the BelaPAN News Agency.

As he said, an expert team of the Council of Europe will come to the National Park this spring. The team should confirm progress in implementation of the recommendations which were laid down to the National Park in November, 2006. The exact date of the arrival is not yet determined.

Let's remind that the European Diploma is a prestigious award which is given to national parks and reserves for successes to protect nature. The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" has obtained this Diploma in 1997 for successes in protection of wild nature.

To renew this award the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection of Belarus had to develop a management plan for the Park valid for nearest 10 years and to submit it at the session of the Committee of the Council of Europe on Conservation of Biological and Landscape Diversity by October 9, 2007.

However, the Plans was not failed to make it to the specified term. Instead of it the Ministry of International Affairs of Belarus has submitted to the Committee of the Council of Europe a letter in which the reasons of delay in preparation of Plan were explained. There was also affirmed that nature protection and economic activities of the National Park meet to the requirements and recommendations of the Council of Europe. The Committee has then taken into account explanations of the Belarusian party and the consideration of this question was rescheduled on November 29, 2007. However, consideration of the issues on renewal of the European Diploma for Belovezhskaya Pushcha was again postponed by results of the session of the Permanent Committee on the Bern Convention in November last year.
March 04, 2008 Website "Saint Nickolai's Orthodox Parish in Bialowieza" A bison herd from the Bialowieza to reach a record size (Poland)

In late 2007, 439 bison that's 35 animals more than the year ago lived freely in the Polish part of the Bialowieza Forest. On Monday the annual inventory of the herd of these animals, the biggest in the country, was finished.

Bison are always counted in the winter when snow appears and the animals are gathered in a few places of additional winter food supply. They are under inventory there while along-living animals are found upon the tracks. It was difficult to do it this year because snowfalls were seldom and not big.

402 animals were accounted last year. Malgorzata Karas', the director of the Bialowieza National Park, has informed that 76 calves that's 20 percents more than in the previous year was born in the Polish part of the Forest last year.

Employees of the Park have established that the big number of the calves comes from a natural cycle of birth of these animals in which females have posterity every second or third year. 2005 was also the record year regarding newborn – 79 bison were born in the Forest for that period.

So the number of the newborn mainly influences upon the size of the bison population in the Polish part of the Bialowieza Forest. The number of cases of natural death, as well as the amount of extraction for the purpose of selection and resettlement of the animals to other places of the country and abroad are approximately the same from year to year.

Mrs. Karas' has informed that for today 11 bison of 30 ones which sanction for selection was given out by the Minister of Environment were shot. Sick and old animals are basically under extraction. In the meddle of March 3 bison will be delivered to the breeding centre in the Neatherlands.

In Poland one can see free living bison in Bieszczady, Pilskie Forest, and Borecka Puszcza and Knyszynska Puszcza.

The information source: PAP
March 04, 2008 BP-21 Century Website News Service Kaleidoscope of information
March 01, 2008 "Respublika" (The Republic) Newspaper, No 41 Pancake week over all pancakes

One of the most joyful and bright national holidays is knocked at the door in the first spring day.

On Monday the Pancake week is starting, the holiday lasting the whole week. The People meet spring in this way since olden times. The main attribute of the holiday is a pancake, a symbol of the sun to which pagans worshiped in times of antiquity.

"The Pancake week is not scheduled to any exact date. The pancake holiday begins eight weeks prior to Eastertide and seven days prior to Great post," Natalia Germatskaya, the manager of the excursion sector of the Belarusian State Museum of the National Architecture and life. says. "Particular features of the Pancake celebrations were kept in different places in Belarus. Carnivals pass somewhere. The women draw bright cheeks by beet juice and eyebrows, beards, moustaches by soot from the furnace, and changes clothes to a menswear. Somewhere it is preferred to national games.

The Pancake celebrations begin today. In the first spring day a Snow Meiden is sent off from the Manor of Grandfather Frost in Belovezhskaya Pushcha to North Pole. Together with seeing-off the Grandfather Frost's Granddaughter and the winter, the whole Pancake week will be celebrated on which skomorokhs and musicians will entertain visitors.

One might, of course, visit the bright popular holiday but the main is not to forget cooking gold pancakes and test them in the warm family circle.

The picture shows the Museum of the National Architecture and Life (near the village of Ozertso of the Minsk region) inviting to visit The Pancake celebration.

Stepan CHIRICH