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Environmentalists demand to protect Karaginsky Island in Kamchatka - EastRussia | Far East

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Environmentalists demand to protect Karaginsky Island in Kamchatka

Environmentalists demand to protect Karaginsky Island in Kamchatka
Photo: pixabay.com

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is demanding that the Kamchatka government establish a conservation status on Karaginsky Island, the unique territory of which was transferred to a private firm for hunting grounds. Environmentalists fear that the economic development of the island will adversely affect the local flora and fauna.

Within the framework of the Ramsar Convention, the Karaginsky banned hunting for waterfowl and any economic activity that violates wetlands. The Regional Agency of Forestry and Wildlife Conservation held an auction and leased the island for 49 years to the only bidder - Caribou Tour company for 15 thousand rubles per year. Regional authorities explained this by the need to preserve hunting resources. Independently guarding a remote, unpopulated island is very costly for the budget.

The actions of the regional authorities have caused a public outcry. Representatives of the indigenous minorities of the North, who graze deer there, came against the island for rent, gather wild plants and go fishing. The public perplexity was also caused by the cost of rent, which is lower than the monthly receipt for utility resources in Kamchatka. After that, Deputy Prime Minister - Plenipotentiary of the President in the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev instructed to clarify the situation.

The government of the province is convinced that the transfer of the island for rent and the price of rent are not in conflict with the law. At the same time, the governor of Kamchatka stressed that he was also at a loss and believed that, in addition to the law, one should also be guided by common sense. Although the norms of federal legislation were applied in calculating the cost, the interests of the region and the need to preserve its unique ecosystem were not fully taken into account. The head of Kamchatka commissioned an inspection of the hunting grounds in order to create a complete picture of the cost of rental land, and to come out with proposals for amending federal legislation that regulates the procedure for setting prices.

According to the press service of the Kamchatka branch of WWF Russia, the current situation is paradoxical. According to the director of the department, Sergei Rafanov, instead of independently protecting the unique flora from poachers, the regional administration shifted this responsibility to a private company. He believes that the logic of the authorities is that it will be beneficial for the site owner himself to monitor the abundance of hunting resources, which means that he will be engaged in the preservation of valuable species. The state, in turn, instead of protecting, intends to exercise only control, despite the fact that the nearest forester is located in 60 km from the island.