NEWS ARCHIVE: MARCH 2012

March 30, 2012 Website "BELTA" The number of wild birds in Belarus is rising

Belarus has ensured the growth of the number of wild birds as a result of ongoing environmental activities, BelTA learned from the National Statistics Committee.

Last year, 9.3 thousand wood grouses, 37.9 thousand black grouses, 67.8 thousand hazel-grouses and 624.9 thousand ducks lived in the country.

To maintain and enhance biodiversity in the country, specially protected areas with a special regime of protection and use have been established. There are currently the Berezinsky State Biosphere Reserve, Polesie State Radiation Ecological Reserve and national parks "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", "Braslav Lakes", "Narochancky" and "Pripyataky".

Biological diversity of birds in the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve makes 234 species, 58 of them are listed in a Red Data Book of Belarus. There are 213 and 58 species respectively in the Polesie Radiation Ecological Reserve, 254 and 64 species in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", 216 and 56 ones in the national park "Braslav Lakes", 255 and 66 ones in the National Park "Pripyatsky" and 230 and 51 species in the National Park "Narochansky.

Birds listed in the Red Data Book of Belarus, such as the osprey, short-toed eagle, golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, eagle-owl, dwarf, black stork, black-throated diver, great white egret, merlin and others are protected in the reserves and national parks.

The system of environmental measures aims at protecting wild animals, including birds. The Belarusian legislation establishes the legal basis of protection and sustainable use of biological diversity, prevention of damage to life and health of wild animals and birds from the harmful effects of anthropogenic factors, illnesses, emergencies and adverse environmental conditions.

The statistical summary was prepared for the International Day for Protection of Birds, which is celebrated on April 1. This Day is designed to draw attention of the mankind to problems of the other inhabitants of the planet Earth.
March 26, 2012 Website "The State Nature Protection Establishment "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" Spring brought new worries

We have repeatedly reported on our website about the hurricane in Belovezhskaya Pushcha in 2011 and the events to eliminate its consequences. This year, enhanced forest protection measures are planned in the damaged forest stands. In addition to the continuing monitoring of the state of the surrounding stands, their assessment and remediation sanitation in areas damaged by the hurricane will be conducted. If necessary, only biological methods will be used to fight pests of forest plantations. A major pheromone entomological monitoring of needle- and leaf-eating pests, as well as monitoring the dynamics of xylophagous populations damaging the wood is provided for these purposes. Help in the preservation of forests will be given by its feathered friends - birds. In order to attract them, more than 500 artificial nests will put up.

Plantations will be made on an area of 150 hectares. Another 180 hectares are left for natural regeneration.

126 kg of seeds obtained after processing of spruce cones and seeds of pine trees will be sown for the cultivation of forest seedlings in the nursery. Processing of seven tons of pine cones has already completed. Literally in the next few days, foresters will begin planting, still enough moisture in the soil.

Since the spring, the enhanced control over compliance with fire safety regulations is carried out. Forest areas of the National Park got fire extinguishing and fire prevention equipment. Action plans to bring the forces and means of Ministry of Juncture to extinguish fires if they occur, as well as routes of ground patrol for forest protection guards have been developed and agreed.

In connection with the onset of sap flow in birch and maple trees, the administration of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" recalls that harvesting sap of trees is prohibited in the protected area. A fine of up to 20 basic units is for violation of the rules of non-timber forest products' use in accordance with Art. 15.26 of the Administrative Code.
March 20, 2012 "Zvyazda" (The Star) newspaper, No 52 To let a brawn bear live in Belovezhskaya Pushcha?

Brown bears may soon re-settle in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Return this species is planned together with the Frankfurt Zoological Society, whose members came to Belarus to discuss the issues of further cooperation.

Bears completely disappeared from the above-mentioned territory in the XIX century. It is known that at a time when the territory of Belovezhskaya Pushcha was a part of Poland, the authorities tried to restore the population of bears through delivering several animals from the zoo, but there ws no result. All the more so the war prevented the case.

Chief Scientific Officer of the State Association "Scientific and Practical Center for Bioresources at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus" Vadim Sidorovich told to the "Star" that brown bears lived all over the territory of Belarus in the XIX century. Now the bear population is gradually getting worse:

"It is estimated for 2002 to 2004 that more than 200 bears lived in the Belarusian forests. Mostly, they are in the north and some central regions Berezinsky and Borisovsky. In 2008, there were already a little more than 100 bears. According to the figures, the number of brown bears has declined to about 63 animals over the past two years.

According to Vadim Sidorovich, this is a critical level. The population of bears is reduced because of the "troubled" life in the winter - the frequent and widespread hunting for ungulates. A female bear, if frightened by the noise of hunting, leave newborn cubs and do not return in that place. Logging in old spruce forests is the second reason for disturbing. Bears opt for the winter just places like mentioned above and people who cut down trees disturb them.

Now the Belarusian side is waiting for confirmation of agreement from the Frankfurt Zoological Society to support the first phase of the return of bear in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Bears that will set the basis of the Pushcha's populations will unlikely be of Belarusian origin. As noted in the "Scientific and Practical Center for Bioresources", a displacement of a small number of "domestic" animals from one area to another does not give any benefit, as at least twenty adult bears are the need to restore the population.

Hanna Garustovich
March 19, 2012 Website "The State Nature Protection Establishment "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" Green light for feathered migrants

The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" is on the way of migration of many birds including rare wetland species.

Their spring migration is more active than the autumn one. Tens of thousands of birds use the local rivers and reservoirs to regain strength for further travel.

Several areas of the National Park are of international importance for migrating and nesting wetland birds and have the status of the territories important for birds. These include wetlands like flood plain of the Lesnaya River and Wild bog.


So, the National Park's administration has established a ban on spring hunting of white-fronted goose, gray goose, bean goose, Canada goose and mallard on the territory of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and its buffer zone. It is support of the initiative of the Ministry of Natural Resources and understanding the importance of Belovezhskaya Pushcha as a migration corridor and a significant area for rest and nesting of wetland birds.

To preserve the integrity of the migration corridors, an appeal to the Executive Committees of Pruzhany and Kamenets districts and a proposal to ban spring hunting of wetland birds in areas adjacent to the National Park and its buffer zone have been prepared.

Thus, the moratorium on the spring hunt will keep the birds in their number, will reduce the disturbing factor during the migratory rest and will help ensure that more birds will nest in the area.
March 16, 2012 Website "Naviny.by" Spring hunting of wetland birds is banned in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" banned spring hunting of wetland birds. This decision was made by the Park's administration, as Deputy Director for researches of "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" Vasilly Arnolbik said to BelaPAN.

According to him, the National Park's terrotiry has great significance for migratory cranes, gray goose and some species of ducks. The bog "Dikoe" (Wild), lands adjacent to the Yaselda river and the confluence of the Pravaya Lesnaya and Levaya Lesnaya rivers are areas important for birds.

Arnolbik informed the ban made in view of the position of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment protection and the NGO "Belarus Birds' Life" (BBL) on the issue. Moreover, the administration of "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" appealed to the authorities of Kamenetz and Pruzhany districts to support the ban, as some sites of the National Park and surrounding areas form the indivisible nature complex.

BBL Director Victor Fenchuk said to BelaPAN that he welcomed the decision of the administration of "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" as it will help restore the number of wetland birds in "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and in Belarus as a whole. "I want to hope that other environmental agencies, including those subordinated to the Presidential Department of Affairs, will follow this suit. Thus, they confirm that their priority is to work for protection of nature, not its commercial use," Fenchuk said.

This year, the Ministry of Natural Resources banned the hunting of waterfowl in 13 hunting areas of Belarus.
March 16, 2012 Website "Naviny.by" Environmentalists oppose the order of the Ministry of Forestry on cleaning forests

Environmentalists have urged the Minister of Forestry Mikhail Amelyanovich to cancel the order of the Ministry of Forestry "On Enhancing the Work of Restoring Order in Forests" from February 16, 2011, in respect of cutting of bushes, undergrowth and trees valuable for biodiversity conservation along the roads. BelaPAN learned this from PhD in Biology and editor of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha 21st Century website Heorhi Kazulka.

Besides, the appeal was signed by PhD in Agriculture and member of the Global Forest Coalition Olesya Kaspruk (Ukraine), forestry engineer and member of the Public Advisory Board at the Belarusian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Igor Kutalovsky and, lawyer and specialist in environmental law Grigory Fedorov.

"The task of restoring order in forests, in fact, turned almost everywhere to the destruction of the natural balance in ecosystems, to the destruction of biodiversity and wildlife, to the confrontation with the natural process and to change the natural shape of forests", as is said in the appeal. According to environmentalists, healthy forest is cut down at a distance of 50 meters along either side of roads.

"All bushes and a lot of undergrowth and trees valuable for biodiversity conservation are cut down", as stated in the letter. "A special war for unknown reasons was declared to willow a valuable biological species. Because of that, nesting sites of birds important for a healthy life of the forest are destroyed. Reducing the density of vegetation in the lower layers affects insects and other invertebrates, including beneficial and neutral species which are up to 99 percents in the forest." Environmentalists stress that it reduces the natural protective biological functions of forests and their resistance to pests.

As emphasized by representatives of the environmental community, "under the pretext of restoring order in the forest, it is actually carried out the destruction of nature of Belarusian forests in its natural form and interrelationships."

The full text of the letter is here (in Russian)
Photos and the detailed description of the problem is here (in Russian).
March 07, 2012 Website "The State Nature Protection Establishment "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" Does bear return to live in Belovezhskaya Pushcha?

European coordinator of programs Michael Brombacher visited Belovezhskaya Pushcha on February 28, 2012, with the assistance of the NGO "Belarus Birds' Life". The possibility of reintroduction of brown bears in Pushcha's forest ecosystems has been discussed during a workshop with the management and staff of the scientific department. The Management Plan of the National Park (2008) recommends returning this species. The Frankfurt Zoological Society (Germany) expressed interest in promoting and funding this project. This is one of the largest and oldest environmental organizations in Europe, which supports and implements environmental projects around the world for 150 years. The society is willing to consider Belovezhskaya Pushcha as one of the priority areas for biodiversity conservation at a European level, and related activities. In particular, the possibility of promoting projects to restore damaged wetlands, to monitor wildlife by using remote sensing methods for tracking, to research bison genetic, to study and restore the population of the West-European subspecies of grouse which lives in Belovezhskaya Pushcha have been discussed.

March 06, 2012 Website "National Television" On the warpath: poachers left bloody trails

A trail of blood has helped to find a poacher in the Grodno region. Environmental inspectors saw a large blood stain in the forest during the raid in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". A tractor path and droplets' traces were from there. Following this track, inspectors together with the investigators have come to the house of a local resident. A split carcass of a wild boar has also been found. According to the poacher, he just finished off a wounded animal with an ax. He transported the prey home in a tractor bucket.

The hapless hunter will have to pay damages - four and a half million Rubles (~$560).
March 02, 2012 Website "Virtual Brest" A cheerful holiday dedicated to the end of winter and Shrovetide was in Belovezhskaya Pushcha on February 25

Games, contests and sports did not allowed visitors, who arrived in the Belarusian Grandfather Frost's estate, to become bored.

Merry clowns and funny puppets made a good spirits of the holiday for participants. Amateur groups performed humorous folk songs about winter and coming spring. Despite the not very good weather, there were many people wanting to ride on the horse carriage.

An artists' town was working on the outskirts of the estate. There were wood carving, straw weaving, embroidery, weaving and blacksmithing as parts of crafts.


Guests of the holiday were able to see how whistles, mushrooms, pencils, birds, angels, spoons, salt shakers and other crafts from natural materials are made by a master. Products from ordinary straw, weaving exhibition, embroidered towels, napkins, pillowcases and embroidered dolls were especially attractive. Merry chimes beckoned all to the anvil where an avid blacksmith was working. People wishing to learn from folk art could get advice from working masters. And of course, there were traditional pancakes with sweet tea from local herbs.

The burning of an effigy and parting with the Snow Maiden, who went to the far north to her Grandmother Winter was highlight of the holiday. There were circle dances and songs in honor of the Maiden. Santa Claus "reported" about his work, said about how many letters and gifts he had sent to the kids and received from them. In general, more than 120,000 people visited the Manor last year and by over 800,000 visitors from nearly 100 countries came here during its existence (since late 2003).


Source of information: http://npbp.brest.by
March 01, 2012 "Vecherniy Brest" (The Evening Brest) newspaper While waiting for tourists

Five roadside service objects will appear this summer on the bypass road in the area of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", in the Pruzhany district. This was discussed at a meeting with participation of Vice-Chairman of the District Executive Committee, heads of departments and district services.

A few months after commissioning the road "Belovezhskaya Ring", investors particularized their plans. Two entrepreneurs will use a former school building in the village of Brody, a shop and a clubhouse in the village of Radetzky as the public catering facilities. The local consumer society will open roadside service facilities in villages Krynitsa and Lyskovo. JSC "Pruzhany Dairy" plans to open a cafe in the village of Kivachino.
March 01, 2012 Website "BELTA" Belovezhskaya Pushcha and its surroundings are offered to be a part of the tourist and recreational park

The Ministry of Sports and Tourism sees expedient to establish the tourist and recreational park in Belovezhskaya Pushcha and around, as BelTA learned this from Lubov Maximova, head of the Sector of Planning and Organizing Tourist Activities at the Tourism Department of the Ministry of Sports and Tourism.

It is proposed to establish the tourist and recreation park only in the area where plans are to develop tourism infrastructure and to serve travelers, not throughout Belovezhskaya Pushcha. In particular, this covers the territory adjacent to the bypass road. It is planed that investors will build the majority of tourist objects there, including hotels and cafeterias. It is proposed to include Belovezhskaya Pushcha in the Free Economic Zone "Brest" to give privileges and preferences for residents of the tourist and recreational park.

Head of the Sector emphasized that the tourist and recreational park will not cover the territory which is under strong protection and is not for tourists. But the territory outside the bypass road, which is not the National Park, can be included in it. Thus, the boundaries of the tourism and recreation park and the National Park will not match.

"Creation of the tourist and recreational park in Belovezhskaya Pushcha will not mean that tourists will be able to "trample" rare plant species, as the interlocutor assured. In addition, the National Academy of Sciences can today calculate the potential pressure on the Park and the possible impact of tourism on its ecosystem.

The tourist and recreational park, as she said, should be interesting for all people. For example, young people should find in it the opportunities for active recreation, children should get the fairy-tale atmosphere in the residence of Santa Claus, and adults should use SPA-centers located in a unique environment. "Creation of the tourist and recreational park will promote tourism in Belovezhskaya Pushcha and its environs," Lubov Maksimova says.

The Ministry of Sports is also promising the creation of the tourist and recreational park in the Braslav area. To do this, the part of the Braslav district could be included in the Free Economic Zone "Vitebsk".

The presidential decree of 2011 has established the special tourist and recreational park "August Channel" in Belarus, which is now part of the FEZ "GrodnoWest". According to head of the Sector, this example should be a model for other regions.

The main task of creating tourist and recreational parks is the efficient use of natural wealth, the improvement of tourist infrastructure, attracting foreign investments and increasing the tourism potential. "Today we see that the Poles and Lithuanians are interested in the tourist and recreational park "August Channel". They are interested in this product. It is good to apply this model in other areas," the representative of the Ministry of Sports said.

Andrew Asfura