Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

24 December 2013. RIA-Novosti Infographics. The Main Russian New Year’s Tree in the Moscow Kremlin

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics. The Main Russian New Year's Tree in the Moscow Kremlin. 2013

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Loggers cut down the main Russian New Year’s Tree in a forest in Naro-Fominsk Raion in Moscow Oblast on Thursday 19 December. It’s a spruce tree, over 110-years-old. Soon, workers will load it onto a flat-bed trailer and deliver it on Saturday in Moscow, where workers will put it on Cathedral Square in the Kremlin. Strict standards exist for the selection of the Kremlin New Year’s Tree… it must have a smooth trunk, a pyramidal shape, feathery branches, and be at least 30 metres (99 feet) in height. The quality of the trees’s timber is important, for it must be able to withstand temperature fluctuations, and it must last for three weeks without deterioration. Foresters reject any trees with moss or lichen on the trunk, or if they discover that the tree’s hollow. Usually, the trees come from the edge of the forest, as it’s easier to take them out and ship them to the city. For several weeks, a special commission examined the forests surrounding Moscow to select a proper tree. They choose two or three main candidates, for two are backups, just in case the primary tree has an accident for one reason or another during the display period. The decorations are rather simple… it has large, medium, and small ornament balls in the colours of the Russian flag (red, white, and blue).

19 December 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://ria.ru/infografika/20131219/985113920.html

http://en.ria.ru/infographics/20131223/185857162/The-Countrys-Main-Christmas-Tree.html

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Russian Bears Searching Remote Villages for Food

00 bear in a tree. 28.08.13

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Wildlife authorities in some of Russia’s more remote and wild regions warn residents to stay inside after dark after several encounters with wild animals resulted in attacks on humans, livestock, and guard dogs. Authorities in areas such as Kamchatka and Bashkiria said that they shoot aggressive animals, even from the air. The situation worsened with the arrival of the cold season. Hungry predators search for food as their resources in the forest become increasingly difficult to find, so, the animals search for food in the villages. In Kamchatka this year, authorities recorded a large number of anomalous bears that didn’t go into winter hibernation. So far, the bears killed three people and seriously injured two more.

However, the bears’ main target is livestock and poultry. Local scientists and hunters said that they believed that the bears are unable to hibernate because they’re still hungry. This year, rivers in Kamchatka had few fish, and bears had a hard time finding enough berries in the forests. Many predators didn’t have time to store up fat; now, they roam in search of food, even near settlements. Kamchatka Krai introduced a special decree… the authorities decided to shoot all bears not in “voluntary” winter sleep. They’ve already killed 140 predators. In Bashkiria in mid-October, a bear attacked and killed a mushroom collector.

Whilst bears remain a problem, some authorities consider wolves to be a greater threat. Primarily, their victims are pet dogs in yards. Usually, dogs are on a leash, so, they can’t fight the wolves. In the Komi Republic, wolves bit three pet dogs. In Kaliningrad Oblast, wolves ate 35 sheep and 20 cows. In Tuva, there were 15 attacks by wolves on livestock. In Lugansk Oblast, wolves tore up nine sheep. According to locals, this is the first case where predators attacked domestic animals within inhabited areas. In areas where wolf attacks are random, local authorities don’t issue formal permits for killing predators. They tell frightened residents to follow simple safety precautions. Don’t go out at night, don’t let children out unaccompanied, lock pet dogs inside the house, and call the authorities if you encounter a wild animal. Bears, unlike wolves, rarely go to towns, so, precautions to follow in regards to them are different. Don’t go into the woods alone, and if you walk in the woods, talk loudly, or even sing, so that the animals can hear you. If you see a bear, don’t make any sudden movements; move away slowly and smoothly. If a bear attacks, it’s better to fall on the ground and pretend to be dead. Chances of escaping from a bear or hiding in a tree are negligible.

However, there are regions where these recommendations aren’t enough. If the number of dangerous animals exceeds established standards, one must reduce their number by force. By law, killing wild animals is punishable by fines from 2,000 to 5,000 Roubles (61-153 USD. 64-162 CAD. 67-169 AUD. 44-110 Euros. 37-93 UK Pounds). The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment does issue permits for “prey hunting resources in order to regulate herd numbers”. The police or hunters can do the shooting. Under federal law, you can only kill wolves with a gun… the law strictly forbids using traps and poisons. For these purposes, the government allots separate funds for the regions. For example, in Yakutia, the struggle with wolves will cost 32 million Roubles (976,000 USD. 1.034 million CAD. 1.078 million AUD. 708,000 Euros. 596,000 UK Pounds). Besides guns, local authorities want to use light aircraft to shoot wolves.

However, according to Nikolai Vyshegorodskih, the Head of Protection and Use of Wildlife, Aquatic Biological Resources, and Environmental Safety of Oryol Oblast, regulating wolf populations by violent means is necessary only in exceptional cases. He said, “Wild wolves attacking humans is extremely rare. Sixty percent of the diet of these animals is rats and other small animals. They’re afraid of people”. In his view, wolves play an important role in the food chain, saying, “Let’s take, for instance, Oryol Oblast. Once wolves come here, then, it sharply reduces the number of stray dogs, cats, and rabid foxes. Sometimes, they eat pet dogs. However, from the viewpoint of natural selection, it’s a normal process. Dogs are socially adapted to people and poorly adapted to life in nature, so, a stronger link in the food chain kills them… the wolf, and in the Far East, it’s the tiger”. Vyshegorodskih noted that as soon as a territory becomes free of wolves, rats, foxes, and wild dogs take their place, which assume the role of predator, and attack humans. He said, “In this situation, wolves are rather good”.

7 December 2013

Anastasia Maltseva

Russia Behind the Headlines

http://rbth.ru/society/2013/12/07/russian_bears_searching_remote_villages_for_food_32359.html

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Russian Cops March Bears Into Forest

00 bear cubs in Kamchatka. 21.09.13

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Bears in the streets and tough cops… this week, two stereotypes about Russia came together in the coal-mining region of Kemerovo Oblast when local police marched a trio of hungry bear cubs from a central town square back into the nearby woods. According to a statement from regional police, late Thursday, a local woman in the town of Beryozovsky spotted one cub “calmly strolling down the street, looking for food in the garbage bins”. Five teams of officers soon arrived at the spot, only to find three bear cubs in the courtyards of nearby buildings. Police cordoned off the area; then, they “escorted the uninvited guests into the woods. They followed the bear cubs in their patrol cars and lit the way with their headlights. The trip took more than an hour”. The police speculated that the cubs might have been the orphans of a female bear fatally hit by a freight train in July on a nearby rail line.

20 September 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://www.en.rian.ru/russia/20130920/183607916/Russian-Cops-March-Bears-Into-Forest.html

 

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Tourists Spend Night on Tree Escaping Bear in Montenegro

01 bear at table

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Local news website CdM reported that a man from Kazakhstan and a woman from the Ukraine, who were both on a bicycle tour across south Montenegro, were forced to spent a night in a tree saving to escape from a bear. On Thursday, police and residents of Virpazar went on a search and rescue mission after the two tourists used to their mobile to call a friend, saying that they were in a tree in a nearby forest hiding from a bear. The search lasted for several hours, complicated by the fact that the tourists’ mobile went dead, then, the cops decided to take a break. Ultimately, both travellers emerged safe and unhurt in Vilpazar on their bicycles. The website added that the Montenegrin government strongly advised tourists against travelling without a local guide in remote areas.

30 August 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/world/20130830/183052645/Tourists-Spend-Night-on-Tree-in-Montenegro-Escaping-Bear.html

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