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Russia, Belarus drawing up a program to restore buffalo population

April 29, 2013, 17:47 UTC+3

They hope that the program will bring 320,000 euro worth of profit annually from commercial hunting

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MOSCOW, April 29 (Itar-TAss) - Russia and Belarus have agreed to draw up a joint program to restore the buffalo population in Russia and Belarus.

"Despite some progress made in the restoration of the buffalo population, buffalo breeders have not achieved any guaranteed long-term result,” the program’s authors wrote. According to zoologists, the buffalo population is estimated at 4,663 species, of which 1,084 live in the territory of Belarus and the remaining 660 are in Russia.

Experts say that Western and Central Europe no longer have natural territories that would be suitable for the roaming of huge buffalo populations of 1, 000 and over 1,000 species. Russia is the only country in the European continent that still has such territories. At present, Russia has about 150 wild free Bialowieza buffalos. About 100 buffalos are kept in captivity, including the Prioksko-Terrasnyi and the Oka natural reserves.

“Effective measures to preserve the buffalo population will contribute to raising international prestige and forming a positive image of both countries in a long-term perspective in the sphere of restoration of the almost extinct animal species on our planet; developing ecological tourism and making Russia and Belarus more attractive to foreign guests and partners,” the program’s authors say.

Besides, they hope that the program will bring 320,000 euro worth of profit annually from commercial hunting.

Russia and Belarus are planning to spend 600 million Russian rubles (Russia - 400 million rubles and Belarus -200 million rubles) for the five-year buffalo restoration program as of 2014.

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