NEWS ARCHIVE: April 2003

April 10, 2003 «Respublika» (The Republic) Newspaper, #80 Look into frog's eyes

An unprecedented campaign to protect amphibians which cross highways while migrating will go on till April 12. Seminars and round-table talks on the issue are held in specially protected natural areas of the Berezinski Biosphere Reserve, the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» and the Pripyatski National Park, research assistant in landscape animals' ecology of the Zoology Institute at the Belarusian National Academy of Science, Ruslan Novitski, told an «Republic» correspondent.

The unusual campaign started in the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha». The park workers, as well as Brest region policemen and workers of DEU-22 and DEU-25 (Road Maintenance Companies) have agreed that, referring to how the issue is dealt with internationally, killing of the animals on Belarusian highways can be prevented. In the areas of mass migration the number of amphibians which die under car wheels may reach a critical level, leading to extinction of their populations. To stop this killing, there should be temporary barriers installed and special underpasses made for amphibians in the areas where they cross roads.

At the end of this year the Zoology Institute and «Centre for Humanitarian Initiatives» will start preparation for the first large-scale project on protecting the animals on Belarusian roads. The National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» had already tracked the routes of amphibians' migration in the area of the park by March 29.

The project may be rejected by some as ridiculous, but… Pessimist should remember that frogs and toads are of good service to people: harmful insects constitute 60 per cent of their food. By the way, frogs, considered by many the «ideal» of ugliness, have really very beautiful eyes. But would we feel ashamed to look into them…

Tamara TIBOROVSKAYA
April 18, 2003 «Sovetskaya Belorussiya» (The Soviet Byelorussia) Newspaper, #37 Real bison to arrive in Minsk

The kings of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha — bison — will arrive at the Minsk zoo in May. Minskovites and all people visiting our capital will be able to daily see these grand and noble animals, which are deservedly the symbol of Belarus.

«The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection allowed catching a pair of bison a few weeks ago,» director of the zoo, Yuri Riabov said. «Right after that there were special wooden traps installed in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Three times bison walked into them, but they were mature animals and we wait for two-year-olds so that they can get used to their new conditions before they grow up. By the way, a 400 square metre enclosure with a big house have already been prepared for bison in Minsk.» Yuri Riabov is sure that bison will like the hospitality the capital can offer.

Nadezhda DEKOLA
April 21, 2003 «Vecherniy Minsk» (The Evening Minsk) Newspaper Bison expected in Minsk

The Minsk zoo, which is in the Zavodskoi city area, is one of the capital's attractions.

According to director of the zoo, Yuri Riabov, up till now the zoo has not had bison, the kings of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection has recently satisfied the zoo's request for a pair of the animals and ordered the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» to catch two bison — female and male — aged 1.5 or 2 years and send them to the capital.

'The bison may be sent to Minsk in May,' director of the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» Nikolai Bambiza told BelTA News Agency. There have been seven wooden traps installed in Belovezhskaya Pushcha so far. As soon as a bison walks into the trap, its entrance will close. Trapped animals then will be placed in a special box, which will be mounted on a trailer and sent to the zoo. The zoo has now special enclosures ready for these newcomers.

Victor Shimolin, BelTA News Agency