YAKUTSK, November 24. /TASS/. Russia's diamond producer Alrosa will continue to protect and preserve the Lena-Olenek wild reindeer population in Yakutia's north-west. The company signed an agreement with the regional Directorate of Biological Resources, Specially Protected Nature Territories and Nature Parks, the company's Chief Ecologist Polina Anisimova told TASS.
"Alrosa continues the work to protect and preserve the Lena-Olenek wild reindeer population. The project continues for several years under an agreement with Yakutia's Directorate of Biological Resources, Specially Protected Nature Territories and Nature Parks. This year, the company has signed a new agreement with the directorate for the term of 2023-2026. We continue measures to protect and restore the numbers of wild reindeer in Yakutia, and every year we will assess the tundra populations," she said.
Alrosa has been supporting the monitoring of wild deer migrations in Yakutia since 2016. Satellite collars transmit constantly the animals' location data. In 2023, ten deer have been tagged near the Olenek River.
"All the new radio collars, purchased with the assistance from Alrosa, are working fine. We continue deer tagging every year during the autumn migration. Even just ten radio collars track up to 15,000 deer at a time," the company's representative said.
In 2018, the company supported the registration of the Lena-Olenek wild reindeer population after a break of almost 10 years. Specialists found that the population remained at the level of year 2009 - 84,000 animals. On July 10, 2019, Alrosa supported also an air surveillance of the deer summer feeding sites on the Chekanovsky Ridge - scientists identified feeding and breeding locations there. The company financed the organization of a specially protected nature area, dubbed Alrosa-Rangifer-Chekanovsky.
The Chekanovsky Ridge territory in the Bulunsky District is known for unique natural characteristics, it is of a major biological value. This location is the main breeding stock of the Lena-Olenek population, which makes up almost 90% and ensures successful reproduction and the population stability. The created resource reserve will preserve the main breeding grounds and areas for calving and feeding of young animals.
Wild reindeer migrate through the Mirninsky, Oleneksky and Nyurbinsky Districts, come to the Zhigansky and Bulunsky Districts. The migration corridor takes vast territories, thus the protecting and safety measures are time and cost-consuming. In 2018, the bio resources authority addressed Alrosa, since the company operates in those areas. The bio resources authority has organized the Zapad team to suppress poaching and illegal hunting during the mass migration of deer. The team keeps records and monitors animals, regulates the numbers of large predators. Invested funds are also used for necessary equipment.
"People in Yakutia must know that wild reindeer are protected. We are confident that these and other environmental measures will help preserve the unique wild reindeer population and, at the same time, will support the region's indigenous peoples," the chief ecologist said.
Alrosa implements environmental initiatives under the Comprehensive Environmental Protection and Environmental Safety Program for 2019-2023. Total investments in the program are about 30 billion rubles ($337 million). Alrosa's assets are in Yakutia and the Arkhangelsk Region. The company explores, produces and sales rough diamonds, and makes diamonds and jewelry. The Russian Federation owns 33.03% of Alrosa's shares, Yakutia - 25%, regions of the company's operations - 8%. About 34% of shares are in free circulation.