NEWS ARCHIVE: September 2003

September 30, 2003 «Vecherniy Minsk» (The Evening Minsk) Newspaper, #217 Cumbersome traveler

A brown bear wandered into the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» after half a century.
Reference: the last «cumbersome aborigines» were shot off in Belovezhskaya Pushcha at the end of the 1870s. There were attempts afterwards to rear them here again. In 1937, according to some sources, eight 1.5-year-old bears were released into the wilderness area of the forest. To all appearance, they didn't settle down and left for the Polesie area, where they died of man's hands. Then, a she bear was brought from the Poznansk zoo in 1937 and two bears were settled by the occupying German troops in the World War 2. Despite all that, the situation did not change in the least.

Bears which would wander into Pushcha by chance were viewed as the dearest visitors. The documents say that, right after the war, two mature and two young bears were registered here. And bear's footsteps were spotted by the park rangers in a forest clearing in 1947…

Until the present time, the last seen bear was officially thought to have been registered in Belovezhskaya Pushcha back in the 1950. But at the end of that summer a huntsman from the Pruzhany forestry, Aleksander Plavski, suddenly ran into distinct bear's footsteps in the forest area which was in his charge.

Will that bear stay in Belovezhskaya Pushcha? Or is it just «passing through» belonging to part of the bears' herd which can be found now moving around the Belarusian forests. By the way, officially the bear in Belarus is thought to permanently live only in the Vitebsk region.

Liliya Tarasenko
September 26, 2003 Website News Service About situation in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

(based on the results of the last official forest inspection suggested by the public initiative)

We invite you to a press-conference «The Situation in Belovezhskaya Pushcha (based on the last official forest inspection suggested by the public initiative)».

The inspection was carried out in response to a letter by the public ecological initiative «Terra-Convention», in which there was a suggestion to the government authorities to go to Belovezhskaya Pushcha and hold an open discussion on the fate of the protected area. Head of the initiative, one of the founders of the democratic coalition «Svabodnaya Belarus» (Free Belarus) Valery Dranchuk took part in it as a public observer and journalist.

Journalists will be informed in full of the inspection and its results, made by a group of ten people (including parliamentarians, Belarusian scientists, forest specialists, government officials). The results of the inspection were presented to the public ecological initiative «Terra-Convention» by the organizers, the Committee on Ecology and Nature Management under the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly. The results in many aspects contradict the longstanding assurances by the Property Management Department of the Belarusian President that «Belovezhskaya Pushcha is in good hands» (published in the state-run press before 2001), that the present deep crisis in Pushcha is to blame on the bark beetle and hurricanes. The results also directly and indirectly prove numerous alternative statements aired by the «green» opposition about the deep crisis of and real threat to the World Heritage Site, about the incompetent management of the protected area and the arbitrary treatment of local people by the administration of the National Park. The Property Management Department of the President is not going to be responsible over the ten years of control over Pushcha and, in this regard, the results of the inspection are also interesting.

The organizers of the press-conference express their hope that this meeting will become the first in a series of alternative press-conferences planned under the name «Environment: views of independent experts». the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection, despite the Regulations of its own work and a number of international conventions (first of all, the Aarhus convention), fails to provide the public with objective information on the ecological situation, as well as regularly meet with journalists and draw attention to many ecological threats.

The conference is also timed to honor the wilderness protection veteran, coordinator of the public ecological initiative «Terra-Convention» Zdislav Muraviev, who died on September 7, 2003. He was looking forward to the conference preparing to it in hope that his view would be considered…

Zdislav Feliksovich Muraviev is the wilderness protection veteran, who was in charge of a main department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection and fought for real action regarding the conservation in the wilderness protection areas. He has lately written open letters to the government, effectively supported the initiatives of the «third sector». He was a friend and coordinator of the unregistered public initiative'Terra-Convention«.

He persistently insisted on the inspection of the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» by competent specialists and willingly offered his help as a public councilor. Zdislav Feliksovich Muraviev undoubtedly contributed to the recent inspection of Belovezhskaya Pushcha by the Committee on Ecology and Nature Management, which in many aspects arrived at the same conclusions as those expressed by the public.

Zdislav Muraviev believed in objectivity of the press and was always responding to journalists. He was looking forward to the conference carefully preparing to it in hope that his view would be considered…

The press-conference will be held by ecologists, members of the democratic coalition «Svabodnaya Belarus» (Free Belarus), representatives of public organizations.

The press-conference starts at 12.00 on October 1.

The public ecological initiative «Terra-Convention», September 25, 2003
September 26, 2003 Charter '97 New project «The person»: Valery Dranchuk

The presenters of the project are Nataliya Kolyada and Nikolai Khalezin

The Interview and Biography
He was born on August 9, 1951 on the farm Govyazna in the Stolbtzy area. The man, who wants and acts to let anyone of us breathe the fresh air and enjoy the beauty of the Belarusian nature. He fights against felling and teaches children to see the beauty of the land they live on, writes poems and publishes the newspaper «Belovezhskaya Pushcha». He defines himself in a word as a farm-dweller. Today, our feature «The person» is dedicated to conservationist, journalist, painter, poet, member of the Democratic coalition «Svabodnaya Belarus» (Free Belarus) Valery Dranchuk.

Environmentalist, journalist writing on issues of ecology, publisher. The editor-in-chief  of the newspaper «Belovezhskaya Pushcha». Teacher. Graphic artist, graphic photographer. Activist of the movement for temperance since 1983 and the Belarusian in-town-cycling renaissance since 1981. A sole cycle traveler to Poland (Minsk — Pulavy) and Ukraine (the Shatski National Park), organizer of numerous cycling trips to Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the lake of Svityaz, etc., with eco-reports from the scenes.

«Belovezhskaya Pushcha». Valery Dranchuk author's newspaper.

Valeri Dranchuk is the author of the newspaper «Belovezhskaya Pushcha». Environmentally-friendly, educational and publicistic edition. Formed in 1995. Prize-winner of the European Henry Ford award «For cultural heritage and environment protection» in 1999. Editor-in-chief. Publisher, individual entrepreneur. Prize-winner of the Ales Adamovich award in 2001.
September 24, 2003 «Respublika» (The Republic) Newspaper, #210 Italian traveler arrives to Belarus

The famous Italian traveler Yanush River will spend the whole week in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Before that, he spent two days in the Brest Fortress: the first night he slept on a glade over the former gunpowder dump, and the second one he stayed tens of meters away from the border of Belarus and Poland, next to the junction of the rivers Mukhavetz and Bug.

September 24, 2003 «Narodnaya Volya» (The People's Will) Newspaper, #182 Citizen of the World in Brest

A «Citizen of the World» — that is how a 68-year-old traveler and Rome dweller Yanush River names himself. On December 31, 1999 he decided to cycle around the world with neither money, no maps. His travel began on the Canary Islands and, taking up estimated 8 years, is to end on the day of the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. On the whole, he will span 100,000 kilometres and visit over 100 countries. He was particularly delighted with Belarus' Palesie area. Last weekend he visited the Memorial «Brest Hero Fortress», where he slept in the open beside the ruins. He is now going to visit the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» and the state-farm «Sovetskaya Belorussia» in the Kamenetz area. Then he is off to Poland.
September 24, 2003 «Sovetskaya Belorussiya» (The Soviet Byelorussia) Newspaper, #178 Two river banks

The river Lesnaya Pravaya, which has its source ten kilometers to the north of the Polish town Gainovka, flows through the Kamenetz and Brest areas. Today, it is under special care of ecologists from Poland and Belarus. In the mid of September there was a bilateral meeting of experts from the Belostok inspectorate and the Brest regional committee on natural resources and environment. The need for bilateral monitoring comes from the intensive management of land and industrial activity in the area of the river intake on both sides of the border. In Poland the quality of the river's water suffers from Gainovka, which has a population of 25,000 and processing industry. As for Belarus, the water is affected by utilities of rural, housing and communal services. It may seem strange that the Poles are interested in the quality of the river's water on our side of the border. Their concern is, in fact, understandable as the river Lesnaya Pravaya falls into the river Bug in the area of Brest and the river Bug, in turn, makes its way into Poland.

Anatoly GURIN
September 11, 2003 «Byelorusskaya Lesnaya Gazeta» (The Byelorussian Forest Newspaper) Newspaper, #35 (440) Offer help to remove timber

The National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» has got into big trouble. Its spruce forest stands began to die tremendously. The remedy for it is to fell the affected forest areas. Actually, this is being done by local forestry specialists. There are estimated 80,000 cubic metres of wood prepared to be taken from the forest, chief forestry officer of Belovezhskaya Pushcha Viktor Kazachok said. The country's forest enterprises offer their help to do it. The first were forestry specialists from the Brest and Grodno regions. Soon, they will be joined by their colleagues from other parts of the country. The Forestry Committee sent a proper letter to the Gomel, Vitebsk, Minsk and Mogilev Forestry areas in that connection.

Igor Homich
September 03, 2003 «Narodnaya Volya» (The People's Will) Newspaper, #164 Tick sucked people

At present, the situation with tick-borne encephalitis is under control, chief sanitary doctor of the country Valeri Klyuchanovich said to journalists. According to him, the Brest region, in particular Belovezhskaya Pushcha, is the most dangerous place in Belarus in terms of likelihood to become infected with tick-borne encephalitis. Although, the sanitation and epidemic service research shows that only 9.8 per cent of all ticks in the country are carriers of that disease.

Olga Osipenko
September 1, 03 «Byelorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta» (The Byelorussian business newspaper) Newspaper, #13 Sniper found

Six police groups have found the man, who stole a sniper rifle from the home of director of the State National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» Nikolai Bambiza a month ago.

As it was reported, after his house in the village of Podbelskie Ogorodniki had been broken into, he missed women's and men's clothes, two mobile phones and a sniper rifle model SVD PSO-1 with live cartridges. It is noteworthy, that Bambiza got the rifle from the safe of the National Park and, violating the rules, kept it in his house in a living room — a come-at-able place — as if it were just a mop, that is he did not keep it in a safe. The thief is a 26-year-old man, who has recently come to live in Brest and worked as a tailor in a firm. According to the office of home affairs of the Brest regional executive committee, the crime has selfish ends. The man met a girl and had affectionate feelings towards her. But she was better-off, had a foreign car and time after time reminded her friend of his scant money. That was the reason why Sergei broke into the rich house. He was going to sell the rifle and, until then, gave it to his acquaintance in Brest to keep. The rifle and the cartridges were found in his acquaintance's garage in the down town. Other stolen things are being searched for.

It is difficult to say how long the search for the stolen things might have carried on, but for a trivial occasion. Sergei, whose family is from Kamenyuki and, until now, enjoyed good reputation, went to re-register the stolen mobile phone in his name. The phone was still being searched for, and that helped to find the thief.