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Belarusian wildlife: unique facts about extinct animals

Belarus has always been renowned for its beautiful nature and rich wildlife. At the end of October of the current year unexpected news shocked everyone. A wild forest cat was seen in the Polesie State Radioecological Reserve.

SEE: Animals in Belarus

The animal was considered extinct for 90 years. Biologists have started discussing the astonishing return of the animal back to the wildlife of Belarus and brought up the issue that other animals may return to the wild as well. So, what could these animals be?

Apollo butterfly

Apollo butterflies disappeared from the territory of Belarus at the territory of Belarus at the beginning of the 1980’s. The kind is named after the Greek God Apollo and is considered to be one of the most beautiful butterflies in Europe. Usually, Apollos can be seen from the Atlantic coast of Europe to Mongolia. Nevertheless, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and the European part of Russia hasn’t seen this kind for about 40 years now. There are no explanations why Apollos disappeared from the territory of Belarus. Some say that with the development of agriculture in Belarus during the Soviet period played a big role. Yet others say that it is due to the global warming. Apollos are known for not migrating, during their life cycle they move not very far distances. Therefore, it is very strange that they have disappeared. The butterfly is still listed into the Red Boo of the Republic of Belarus.

Photo: itsnature.org

Wolverine

Wolverines disappeared from the territory of Belarus in the middle of the 19th century. These animals can weigh up to 30 kilos and be about one meter long. Wolverines are known for protecting their territory well from other animals and for the ability of killing hoofed animals. One of the reasons of their disappearance from Belarus is hunting, development of agriculture and cutting down forests. Today these animals are more common for the territory of South Russia, Canada and the USA.

Photo: dkfindout.com

Atlantic sturgeon

The last time an Atlantic sturgeon was caught on the territory of Belarus was in the river Neman in the 1950’s. This fish is very rare to see in the 21st century Europe. In the 1960’s you could still see this fish in Belarus, however, within time it became extinct. When a hydro plant was built on the river, the ecological situation worsened and therefore, specialists think that it is the main reason why Atlantic sturgeons disappeared from Belarus. It also began disappearing in other European countries; Poland has listed the fish into the Red Book. The ecological situation of the river is improving, the amount of rubbish thrown into it is decreasing, and therefore, Belarusians may once again see an Atlantic sturgeon in the river Neman.

Photo: njspotlight.com

Great bustard

The great bustard was last seen on the territory of Belarus near the town of Pruzhany in the 1930’s. The bird is renowned for being rather aggressive. They can weigh up to 16 kilos and they usually settle near the places people live in. Biologists say that hunting and the development of agriculture, agricultural field works in particular, led to the extinction of the bird. In 2001 several European countries have signed a memorandum on controlling the population of the bird. Belarus hasn’t joined it yet, nevertheless, Europe has already made several achievements. So it is quite possible that these birds can someday return to Belarus.

Photo: pinterest.com

Russian desman

During the prehistory period, this animal was typical for the territory from the Atlantic coast to the Urals. Russian desmans lived in Belarus for more than 30 million years and disappeared in the 1960’s. Russian desmans are only about 22 centimeters long, the nearest “relative” is a mole. Desmans make holes in the ground leading to water. These animals could be seen on the Dnieper river in Belarus. However, when the ecological situation in the country worsened, this animal became extinct. According to some information, Russian desmans were seen in the Polesie State Radioecological Reserve. Unfortunately, this fact cannot be confirmed by photographs just yet.

Photo: ianimal.ru

Belarusian wildlife: unique facts about extinct animals