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Can you hunt bison in Belarus?

Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Andrey Kovkhuto gave an interview to the CTV's program Week.

Mr Kovhkuto, thank you for finding time for an interview. Many people in Belarus ask whether the "environmentally friendly product" label will soon appear in our country.   

Andrey Kovkhuto, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus:
Belarus has not yet implemented a system of measures that defines environmentally friendly products. We still don't have labels either. But this is a very important area, it is very important. And now we are using all our capabilities to introduce this system in Belarus, so that our people can really distinguish ecological products and be sure they have undergone relevant control. 
Belarus now pays a lot of attention to environmental issues, the environmental issues of the implementation of "green" technologies in our everyday life and in industry. The government has developed and adopted a strategy for green economy, the introduction of green economy into life. Everyone wants to be healthy, have the strength to work, raise children and grandchildren.

The era of oil is coming to an end, they say. I think fresh water is oil. Can Belarus earn on this?  

Andrei Kovkhuto:
Indeed, you are right. It should be noted that Belarus has large enough fresh groundwater reserves, among the largest in Europe, and stocks of mineral water, which we use for cooking and drinking and also as medical treatment.

When will Belarus start to earn on sales of fresh water? 
 
Andrei Kovkhuto:
We already export some types of water. We are now searching for investors who would come to us with requirements that exist in their countries, who could invest money in order to extract water and contribute to Belarus' budget.

A huge number of people in the world lives in conditions of water scarcity. Even the richest countries in the world, such as the United Arab Emirates, who live this way thanks to oil. But water for them is more expensive than oil, more expensive than gasoline. Maybe we can somehow work with them?

Andrei Kovkhuto:
The peculiarity of water is that there are brands, well-known brands and indeed, their transportation over long distances makes the water cost-effective. If we are able to prove the healing properties of our water, then everything can happen.

Ecology means economy but when will Belarus become to earn on it? When will it be allowed to shoot bison?  This is expensive enough. I think now's it is time when the population of bison is already quite significant so we can start step by step...
 
Andrei Kovkhuto:
We have about 1,350 of these animals. They are considered rare in Europe.

But there are so many of them in Belarus.

Andrei Kovkhuto:
All the same, they are still in the Red Book. And, speaking of the stability of the species, researchers say this is not enough to say they are out of danger. There are still some factors such as diseases and so on, which, of course, still do not exclude the danger. But bison now live even in Kazakhstan. Now we are working to move some of them to Azerbaijan.

So can a rich man shoot the bison or not?

Andrei Kovkhuto:
There is a system that allows killing some species of bison. Yes, we determine some individual bison that can be shot but this is under strict control and we are talking only about individual cases.  

Is this expensive?

Andrei Kovkhuto:
Yes. This, of course, costs some money. And this is actually expensive. This is because much money has been invested to restore the number of this species. Public funds have been invested. Therefore, there should be some compensation.

Can you hunt bison in Belarus?