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    The three Nature’s Heroes chosen by APB—BirdLife Belarus can be considered heroes in a more conventional sense.

    The three Nature’s Heroes chosen by Akhova Ptushak Batskaushchyny (APB—BirdLife Belarus) can be considered heroes in a more conventional sense. One climbs to dizzying heights to study the nests of raptors, with only a few old canvas straps to keep him from falling. The second confronted and defeated a horde of foreign hunters intent on killing the breeding ducks and other wildlife for which he is responsible. The third challenged a poacher and was shot and permanently disabled; but though no longer able to work as a protected area manager, has established a new career as one of Belarus’s most respected wildlife photographers, and inspires many people to become conservationists.

    Dr Vladimir Ivanovski, an APB member since the BirdLife Partner organisation was founded, is the “father” of raptor protection in Belarus. He pioneered techniques such as the provision of nesting platforms for rare raptors, and nestboxes for owls, in places where few natural nesting sites exist, and introduced supplementary winter feeding for raptors.

    He has located and protected literally hundreds of raptor nests

    With the help of a network of foresters, hunters and other people in remote and wild places, he has located and protected literally hundreds of raptor nests, and is especially well known for his work with Merlins and various species of eagle. A Short-toed Eagle has nested on one of his platforms, probably the first time this species has ever used an artificial nest; and he has designed an artificial nest for merlins specially adapted for raised bog habitats.

    Merlin (Falco columbarius) in Vicebsk region of Belarus and Dr Vladimir Ivanovski who made special nest boxes for this species for years.
    Пра жыццё дрымлюка (Falco columbarius) на Віцебшчыне, Беларусь і д-ра Ўладзіміра Іваноўскага, які вывучае і змяшчае для сакалоў спецыяльныя “гнёзды” апошнія дзесяцігоддзі.
    Відэа змяшчаецца з ласкавай згоды Ўладзіміра Іваноўскага.


    Though born in Russia, Dr Ivanovski has lived in Belarus since 1972. In 1986 he completed his PhD on “Rare birds of prey of Byelorussian Poozerie (lake system) and ways of conserving them”. Since 2008, he has been Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Nature Conservation at Vitebsk State University. Popular with journalists as well as with students, Vladimir Ivanovski has developed a large following of people who have introduced his methods of protecting and encouraging nesting raptors throughout Belarus. The hero of a number of documentary films, he also works with children and students raising awareness of wildlife conservation.

    Mikhail Ermolich

    The legal spring hunting of birds as they arrive to breed in the national parks of Belarus has long been a major concern for APB. While parts of the Belarus government are strongly opposed to such hunting, other parts see the annual influx of foreign hunters, especially from Italy, as important contributors to the economy. There is evidence that legal spring hunting is used as a cover for poaching, and some National Park staff and others officially employed in wildlife protection have been found to be involved in the lucrative business of legal and illegal spring hunting. Wildlife inspectors have been frightened to intervene.

    His actions actually ended spring hunting as well as poaching in the territories under his inspection, and saved many birds

    In the spring of 2017, Mikhail Ermolich, an inspector with the State Inspectorate for Fauna and Flora Protection, stepped in to arrest Italian hunters in the Pripyat river floodplain. They were shooting female ducks, which are protected in the breeding season, and other protected species. 

    “His actions actually ended spring hunting as well as poaching in the territories under his inspection, and saved many birds. We were very excited”, said APB’s Vintchevski. Mikhail Ermolich’s brave action has encouraged others to stand up to illegal hunting, and he now has many local contacts who inform him about poaching.


    Mikalaу Vаrabeу

    Mikalaу Vаrabeу is an APB member, and was formerly a biologist employed to manage the Vyhanashchanskaye Republican Landscape Reserve, a Ramsar wetland of international importance. The reserve, a mixture of dense forest and marsh, overlaps with the Vyhanaščanskija baloty Important Bird and Biodiversity area, for which he was also a volunteer IBA caretaker.

    In December 2010, while on his official duties, he was shot in the legs by a local poacher. He is now disabled, and unable to work in his former role, but has instead developed his skills as a photographer. His pictures are used in many APB publications. An inspiring figure whose story has been featured in the media, he communicates his enthusiasm for nature and conservation to children and adults.

    Mikala Vrabe out in the field  Mikala Vrabe

    Mikalay’s surname, Varabey, means “sparrow” in Russian. “He likes to take pictures of them”, Alexandre Vintchevski recalled. “Once, when he won an APB photo contest with pictures of sparrows, he said that his name obliges him to defend the interests of the sparrow!”

    Mikala Vrabe feels obliged to defend the interests of sparrows and he takes wonderful images of them too   Mikala Vrabe




    It was fascinating for me to watch Dr Vladimir Ivanovski, out in the field with the Merlins. The bugs, though!  :D He deserves a bravery medal just for tolerating being attacked by thousands of bugs while doing his work. Even Slavic countries have bugs, I guess!  :D  




    Even Slavic countries have bugs, I guess!

    Oh yes, we do. For example, this cute little bug called roháč.

    It also fits to my thread about literal meanings of words, because roháč means one that has horns/antlers.



    @”Kapitán Denis” In Serbian that’s jelenak, it means little deer more or less.



    We also call this beetle deer (Olen’/Alen’)



    Another young known ornithologist out of Belarus is Denis Kitel. His field of interest are birds of prey. Owls in particular. Once , he went to north-eastern Turkey near Armenia where he ringed 3,000 birds. One needs to be licensed to ring the birds. He wasn’t paid for doing this. He said it was useful experience for him. He also worked at ABP – BirdLife Belarus. Now, he is freelance ornithologist.

    Вetween travels, which are always connected with bird watching, Denis
    lives in Minsk. He occupies himself with studying owls in nest boxes,
    and writes articles on environmental themes. This year, he recorded a
    new bird species for Belarus: a yellow-browed warbler. This brought him a
    prize from the Championship for Sporting Ornithology.

    Over the past 27 years, Denis has visited over 20 countries, travelling to Georgia last summer, to attend a festival of birdwatchers; he shared his experience of Belarus’ ecological tourism, and his adventures in Turkey, where the Belarusian ornithologist was the main bird ringer at a station in the North-Eastern part of the country (on the floodplain of the River Aras).

    Denis believes that his experiences at the station are priceless. Only foreigners work there, since Turkey lacks professional ornithologist-ringers with a license for such activity. Every year, the ‘Kuzey Doga’ organisation invites experts from other countries to undertake work. Denis took over from an ornithologist from Bolivia, who is now living in Spain. Denis was the only professional ornithologist, joined by six amateur enthusiasts.

    ‘Kuzey Doga’ ringing station is situated in the valley between the mountains, about 5km from the border with Armenia. The ornithologists lived in a village half a kilometre from the station, in a house donated by local authorities. The keen bird-watchers would go to the station each day about half an hour before dawn and would return at dusk, Denis determining the species of birds and ringing them. On average, they would catch about 100 birds daily, amounting to around 3,000 over the whole month!




    @Dušan & @Sviatogor
    The bug is called jelonek rogacz in Polish according to Wiki. Poles are universal. :D



    Belarus seems to take very good care of its natural environment and resources.  :)



    Although we take better care of area affected by Chernobyl  in comparison to Russia (Briansk region ) and Ukraine, we are not on par with what Japan has done over the years.

    Belarus is trying to protect wildlife as much as it can. Shooting a bison in Belovezha forest may attract 90,000 Euros in fine. For an average Belarusian citizen that’s several  years of earnings. There have been precedents with a German citizen who shot a healthy bison saying he mistook the animal with a deer.  How can one mistake a bison with a deer in an open field? The judge didn’t believe him.



    Bisons are of a concern. Authorities allow to hunt old males, that don’t participate in reproduction providing the hunters get licenses. Usually, such hunting is done under supervision. The revenues go for research and support of these magnificent animals. Some foreigners think they can come and shoot a healthy young animal and get away with it.  But most poaching is done by our very own people.

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