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Published by AdamVaughan

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Published by: AdamVaughan on Oct 06, 2010
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 Dear Minister,I am writing on behalf of the Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom and our readersworldwide to ask you to consider a proposal for protecting Russia’s biodiversity.The action has been proposed by our online readers and developed by professional scientists. Itis based by scientific evidence.We believe it will both protect an important species and habitat and send a clear signal to thenegotiations at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP10 in Nagoya later this monththat the decisive, concrete actions can and must be taken to halt the alarming decline in globalbiodiversity.Our campaign, Biodiversity 100, has identified 26 achievable actions in a number of countriesand has the support of the international scientific community. We are sharing our proposals with journalists around the world, who will be able to measure the success of their national and localgovernments in implementing the actions we have put forward. For more details of thecampaign please go to guardian.co.uk/biodiversity100.The specific proposals we request that you consider are to modify federal legislation to restrictpoaching of endangered species and to prevent a major industrial site from polluting the globallyimportant Lake Baikal (more information below).We kindly request you to react publicly to our recommendation, both through national mediaand through your statements to the CBD COP10 plenary. We also urge you to considerincluding our proposed action when you revise your National Biodiversity Strategy and ActionPlan after COP10. As a major international media outlet with a global audience, the Guardian takes seriously itsresponsibility to report on the planet’s biodiversity crisis. We would be very keen to hear backfrom you about your country’s efforts to protect the natural environment and, especially, to hearof your reaction to our proposal.October 5, 2010
Kings Place, 90 York Way, London
N1 9GU
Telephone 020-3353 2000guardian.co.uk
Yuri TrutnevMinisterMinistry of Natural Resources4/6 B. Gruzinskaya str.D-242, GSP-5Moscow 123995Russian Federation
 Yours Sincerely,
 Alan RusbridgerEditor-in-Chief
The GuardianCC:
Mr. Igor I. Maydanov, Deputy Minister Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive secretary, CBD
Tiger poaching Action:
Modify federal legislation to restrict poaching of endangered species like tigers
Russia holds the world’s largest population of tigers – the Amur subspecies,Panthera tigris altaica. Like all tiger subspecies it is subject to poaching for use in traditionalChinese medicine. A 2009 government ruling on hunting prevents authorities effectively fightingpoaching because in the new definition of the offence poachers with unloaded firearms so notface sanctions. Even when a person is caught red-handed with a dead tiger or tiger parts butnot witnessed pulling the trigger, then this person is not considered a poacher.To effectively prevent poaching, hunting and contraband laws must be amended to criminalisethe hunting of rare and endangered species. Other amendments should increase maximumfines for possession and transport of tigers or their parts, as well as allow for the confiscation ofvehicles used to transport them, and make exporting wildlife derivatives (in this case body parts)illegal.
A study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology recommends that:“Reduction of human-caused mortality, especially of resident breeding females, appears to bethe most essential short-term conservation effort that must be made.” The proposedadministrative changes are widely supported by Russian and international experts and wereapproved during the International Amur Tiger Conference in Vladivostok, Russia in March thisyear.
Lake Baikal Action:
Stop a major industrial site from polluting the globally important Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest lake in the world, containing one fifth ofthe world’s freshwater, and it is recognized as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. It is also arich habitat containing 1,085 species of plants and 1,550 species of animals, including theBaikal seal (Pusa sibirica), one of only three types of freshwater seal. The Baikalsk Pulp Mill – theonly industry in the area – discharges carcinogenic waste waters into the lake, and emits harmfulsubstances into the atmosphere that can be found up to 70km away. This violates Lake Baikal’sUNESCO status and goes against Russian federal law. Scientists recommend that the mill beconverted so that it ceases to impact humans and wildlife or closed down.
In an open letter to President Putin, Russian scientists from the Russian Academyof Sciences
the detrimental effects of the mill. They recommend that subsidies setaside for the mill be spent on retraining the factory workers. The letter states that: “Dioxins [oneof the pulp plant waste products] have also been found in a number of Baikal fauna. Whenthese are a regular part of people’s diet, the risk of cancer amongst the local population,

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