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TREES WERE CUT DOWN IN THE BESHTAUGORSKIY SANCTUARY

29 january 2021
WWF has sent an appeal to the Public Prosecution Office of Stavropol region on the fact of logging in the Beshtaugorskiy Sanctuary on the route of the anticipated "cycling track". After that, a field inspection was conducted and evidence of violations was found.

Residents of the Caucasus Mineral Waters informed WWF-Russia about trees on the route of the planned terrenkur felled despite the decision of the Court and the Regional Prosecution Office. After that, WWF-Russia prepared and sent an appeal to the Regional Prosecution Office with a request to take in the situation.

January 21, 2021 the Environmental Prosecution Office of Stavropol region, the Department of Urban Menegement of Zheleznovodsk, employees of Beshtaugorskiy Forestry, Directorate of protected areas of Stavropol region, as well as locals carried out a field inspection on Beshtaugorskiy Sanctuary. The survey of terrenkurs in the area of Razvalka and Zheleznaya mountains showed traces of felling of 84 trees of various species.

At the moment, the damage caused to nature can be estimated at millions of rubles, but the final amount will be announced following the results of the investigation. Activists note that on January 21, during the inspection, they managed to stop a car with loggers. They did not have any documents for cutting down trees. At the same time, according to locals, the loggers did not hesitate to say that they work on the instructions of the city hall.

WWF recalls that for any logging, the performers of the work must have permits issued in accordance with the established procedure as indicated in existing legal acts and regulations.

The response of the Prosecution Office has not yet been received, however, on January 27 residents found ongoing logging, as well as eradicated and burned stubs. WWF sent a second appeal to the Prosecution Office with a request to check the legality of this activity.

It will be remembered that on January 14, the Stavropol Regional Court decided to restore the borders of the Beshtaugorskiy Sanctuary to its original state. Judging by the official statements, they are not going to stop their plans for the construction of the terrenkur. The Public Procurement portal has already placed a tender for the construction of the Cycle-racing terrenkur on the Caucasus Mineral Waters, with an initial contract value of about 3 billion rubles. According to the project, about 5,000 trees growing along the route are planned to be transplanted. The ongoing logging may be the result of avoiding such responsibility.

"One of the tasks to create the sanctuary was to preserve and restore the steppe and forest-steppe natural complexes of the Mineralovodsk sloping plain. However, the infrastructure construction and the roads expansion are unlikely to contribute to this, - says Elena Cherkasova, Senior coordinator of Russian Caucasus Ecoregional Office WWF-Russia. - WWF will conduct an independent assessment of the impact of such construction on the nature of the sanctuary. In any case, the tender for construction has not yet been completed, which means that there is no justification for cutting at this stage. We hope that the Regional Prosecution Office will promptly take measures to respond to the ongoing logging."
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