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2 Oct 2014

Belarus can outpace Poland in number of Belovezhskaya Pushcha bisons by year end

MINSK, 2 October (BelTA) – By the end of 2014 Belarus has every chance to come out on top in the number of Belovezhskaya Pushcha bisons, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Igor Kachanovsky told media on 2 October, BelTA has learned.

“Today Belarus is second in the world behind Poland in the number of Belovezhskaya Pushcha bisons. We hope that by the end of this year our country will make it to the forefront,” Igor Kachanovsky noted.

The current Belarusian bison population comprised of ten micro populations of free roaming animals totals 1216 individuals. Their number has increased 3.5 times since 1992.

However, according to Igor Kachanovsky, the genetic diversity of the Belovezhsky bison has considerably reduced, the same as its adaptive potential, which raises doubts on possible survival for separate micro populations in the country.

In this respect the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has developed and approved a concept for bison preservation and sustainable use in Belarus. “The main objectives of the concert is the further growth and stabilization of the number of the Belarusian bison population in the country at the level that guarantees its long-term presence – 1,500 species; the development of the genetic potential of the population; the promotion of a stable growth of various micro populations,” Igor Kachanovsky said. In his words, there is a need in smart breeding taking into account the genetic diversity of the animals from different micro populations.

Igor Kachanovsky stated that the European bison was saved from extinction. “The main problem, however, is that the existing herbs living in Russia, Belarus, Poland and a number of other countries are not enough for securing their long-term conservation as a biological species,” he noted.

A concept of the Union State program on the formation of an optimal areal of the European bison as a guarantee for its long-term presence (Roadmap for Bison) was developed in November 2013 to address the problem. The initiative is designed for 2015-2019 and is aimed at the preservation of the European bison as a biological species in a long-term perspective. The program will require the reestablishment of the fragments of the previous areal on the territory of the Union State for the introduction of full-scale populations.

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