Russia to build neighbourly ties between humans and animals at resorts

At the IV Annual International Conference "Nature Tourism: Global Challenges and Prospects for Russia" in Sochi, representatives of FSBI Sochi National Park, FSBI State Natural Biosphere Reserve of the Caucasus named after K. Kh. Shaposhnikov, Rosa Khutor mountain resort and Vladimir Potanin's Interros Holding signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation. The document provides for joint work to ensure good neighborliness and safety for tourists and wild animals in recreational territories. The memorandum embraces such activities as scientific research, field observations, biotechnical activities, raising awareness among tourists, shaping new standards of responsibility for businesses operating on the territory, and so on.

"The development of tourism in our country makes the organisation of civilised good-neighborliness between man and the animal world topical. The agreement that we signed today aims to create a system that would help reserves solve their scientific tasks on the one hand and allow to make holiday time at leading Russian resorts, such as Rosa Khutor, even more comfortable for tourists and safer for animals on the other hand. We, as major investors in the tourism industry, call it responsible investment and responsible environmental management," Olga Voytovich, Deputy General Director at Interros Holding said.

This project may become the first one in Russia that will merge science and business, and give an opportunity to study animals on the one hand and ensure control over the movement of large animals in the resort area of ​​the Sochi mountain cluster on the other hand.

"These days we receive messages from tourists who say that they saw wild animals while riding the cable car. Of course, this is a great impression for people. Our goal is to establish good-neighborliness between humans and animals. We hope that after the agreement is signed, concrete work will be done, which we will share with our colleagues all over the country," Alexander Belokobylsky, the General Director of Rosa Khutor Resort said.

Within the framework of the project, it is planned to carry out accounting and take a number of technical measures to track the movement of animals both in the territory of the Caucasian Reserve and in areas adjacent to Sochi's mountain resorts. The equipment for such monitoring is to be installed in the Sochi National Park, as well as in the corresponding service of Rosa Khutor mountain resort.

"Rosa Khutor Resort has an extensive experience in the field of tourism, we have vast knowledge in the field of science and nature protection. We have been doing this for almost a hundred years. It is necessary to conduct joint research on the wild goat, to make a record of bears. It would be interesting to monitor bears with the help of collars, so that we could understand where they live and where they go. In this case, everything must be done together. An information program for tourists is also needed," Sergei Shevelev, the head of the Caucasian Biosphere Reserve said.

As a result, Rosa Khutor mountain resort and its surroundings will become an experimental platform for cooperation of specialists from nature conservation and tourism organisations in order to create the environment of good-neighborliness and well-being for both people and wild animals.

"Everything that will be implemented within the framework of our memorandum will be beneficial for all participants," Mikhail Lapin, the director of the Sochi National Park said.

It is worthy of note that the signed memorandum is not the first project of cooperation with reserves and nature conservation organizations for Vladimir Potanin's Interros Holding. When building the Rosa Khutor Resort, Interros, in cooperation with WWF, carried out a program for the reintroduction of the Persian leopard in the Caucasian Reserve in 2005.