About rare types of wild animals living in our area we asked to tell Anatoly Pronin, director of the Berestovitsa regional organizational structure «Belarusian Society of Hunters and Fishers».
— We have the only population of sika deer that lives freely in nature. At one time they were brought by the local agricultural enterprise in the village of Olekshitsy and lived there in an aviary. Over time some of these animals found themselves free and today there are already about 50 of them. And every year their number is increasing. I had observed once a group of animals in which there were more than 20 females, and almost all of them were with young of this year. Sika deer live mainly in the area of Mogilyany and Konyukhy in the swampy area. There are large thickets of hawthorn, where it is almost impossible for a person or other large animal, for example, an elk, to pass. And deer, short in stature, move freely there, because there are no thorns under the trees below. By the way, they willingly eat the fruits of hawthorn, standing on their hind legs and eating berries on the branches. They love to eat various other wild fruits. Once a car hit an animal near the village on the road. Autopsy revealed that his stomach was completely filled with cherry plum.
Scientists of the Academy of Sciences of Belarus became interested in the question of habitation of an introduced species in new conditions. Together with representatives of the Ministry of Forestry they came to us, studied what to do in the future with this animal population. In opinion of some of them the further spread of this species in wildlife should not be allowed. Others take the opposite point of view. Nevertheless next year the new hunting rules will allow hunting sika deer in the same way as roe deer from May. While the hunting for other deer starts only in October.
Picture: Sergey Khiliuta