Ministry of natural resources of the Russian federation

       Polistovsky National Nature Reserve

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November 25 - Hunting in the buffer zone

Hunting in Polistovsky National Nature Reserve’s buffer zone

On Monday, the law enforcement team of Polistovsky Reserve went to daily raid. The objectives of the inspectors include patrolling border of the reserve and buffer zone. This time, the team went to the vicinity of the village Gogolevo located near the borders of the reserve.

As usual the law enforcement team drove UAZ vehicle on the old dirt road that runs in the buffer zone along of the reserve at a distance from several hundred meters to several kilometers away from the border. The inspectors are closely monitoring the situation on the territory: it is necessary to observe all the tracks that go off the roads and paths in the direction of the reserve and control who and why went there.

Over the weekend the frost came, and on Monday the whole earth and the plants were covered with a layer of frost and snow. In such weather footprints are clearly visible, and usually there are no violators. In the beginning it was so. The inspectors checked photo traps installed near the tract Lugi, but there were no fresh images. No traces of human or vehicles were detected as well.

After checking the photo trap inspectors went to the other side - to the Kondratovo tract, at this place the buffer zone crashes into the territory of the reserve by the Peninsula. There is a road, and the width of the buffer zone along it is about 6 km. In some places, the road turns to abandoned villages and, to the border of the reserve respectively.

The track of the tractor, going to the Lebedevo tract (2 km to the reserve) was found there. The road was impassable for the UAZ and the inspectors went further on foot. Soon the sound of footsteps came from the bushes, and a hunter with a gun and walkie-talkie came on the road. As it turned out, he went to his companions, arrived on a tractor. Along with his appearance a tractor with a trailer and a team of hunters with dogs on board went towards the inspectors.

Hunters were the inhabitants of the Gogolevo village; they greeted the inspectors and were in a full confidence that no regulations and laws were violated. Their team makes driven hunt, have a license for moose and all the necessary documents. To the remark that they are in the buffer zone of the reserve in the vicinity of its territory, hunters have answered that they knew about it, but they don't care.

As it turned out, they all have read the news about the restoration of Polistovsky Reserve buffer zone and about the letter of the Governor of Pskov Region to the Minister Sergei Donskoy. However, none of them took this information seriously, since no documents canceling the decision, according to which the reserve has lost the buffer zone, submitted.

Indeed, despite the statement of the regional administration, stating: "In November, after the prosecutors protest the May decision was overturned," no official documents has been received neither at the administration of Polistovsky National Nature Reserve nor at the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia. The promise of the governor to restore the buffer zone still remains a promise, and to date the document isn't published.

What could the inspectors meeting the hunters do? They have a conversation with the residents of Gogolevo, explaining the current situation and once again warned of the proximity to the borders of the reserve. Unfortunately, all this made weak impression on potential violators: they said that they aren't going to the reserve, but in the buffer zone they will hunt as long as they see an appropriate paper. Then the hunters withdrew, and the inspectors could only listen to the dogs chasing a moose on the still non-existent buffer zone of the Polistovsky Reserve. It is worth noting that this time the animal was lucky and it has hidden from the hunters of the protected bog, but the hunt can continue today, tomorrow and further.

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