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21 juillet 2015 2 21 /07 /juillet /2015 12:59


Juchés sur les épaules des géants du siècle dernier que furent Vladimir Arseniev et Nikolaï Baïkov, des étudiants apportent aujourd'hui les premières pierres de la reconstruction des espaces sauvages d'Extrême - Orient, avant d'enseigner, demain, à d'autres jeunes passionnés, à devenir les reconstructeurs et fortificateurs de ces espaces. Le sens des choses se recrée, la Société se reconstruit. Voici l'interview donnée à leur sujet hier par le Directeur du Centre du Tigre de l'Amour, Sergeï Aramilyov.

The student team Tiger 2015 has been established by the autonomous non-profit organisation Amur Tiger Centre and the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve. Many future environmentalists, veterinarians, game wardens, nature conservation and forestry experts wishing to join the team had to pass a strict evaluation process to be accepted as members. Sergei Aramilyov, director of the Primorye branch of the Amur Tiger Centre autonomous non-profit organisation, discusses the recruitment of new student team members and those who will continue to improve environmental trails.

Question: Mr Aramilyov, who is involved in the 2015 project sponsored by the Amur Tiger Centre at the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve?

Sergei Aramilyov: In all, 25 people, of which just six are young women, were selected and invited to join the student team Tiger 2015. Most of them are students from the Primorye State Academy of Agriculture, as well as future forestry experts, game wardens and veterinarians. Nine students represent universities in Moscow, St Petersburg, Voronezh and Novosibirsk. We hope that all our future colleagues will benefit from their two-month summer holidays at the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve.

Question: It appears that even more people wanted to join the student team and to continue improving environmental trails.

Sergei Aramilyov: We received many applications. Certainly, most young people who worked here last year have already defended their theses and are currently signing up for work, but they still would like to revisit the reserve. We have decided to rotate team members and to allow the new students to show us what they are made of. We have already added two young men from the previous team – Alexei Shashonok and Alexei Krutikov – to the new project. And we hope that their experience will help make the student team more effective. We also have substitutes who can replace anyone who drops out for whatever reason. Still I hope that this won’t happen.

Question: How did you select the candidates?

Sergei Aramilyov: We selected them according to a standard procedure. University students were told about this opportunity, applicants filled out questionnaires, and explained what they were interested, their future plans and what they want to achieve while working with the team. Experts from Sikhote-Alin and the Amur Tiger Centre read their questionnaires. The desire of students to help protect nature served as our main criterion. We preferred those who were interested in learning more about nature conservation during the summer environmental project and gaining practical experience for their future careers. This is a real career-building step, not just a chance to have some fun.

Question: Does the Amur Tiger Centre plan to continue improving environmental trails with the help of student teams at other nature reserves in the Primorye Territory?

Sergei Aramilyov: Yes, of course. We would like to expand this project to other areas. We have become convinced that quite a few people want to join the Tiger student team. Next year, there are plans to take part in projects of several specially protected natural areas, including the Joint Directorate of the Lazovsky Reserve and Call of the Tiger National Park. Its environment is similar to that of Sikhote-Alin, including the taiga and the sea coast, but it only has rudimentary tourist facilities. If we see that our partners are interested and if some of them contact us, we will be happy to do this. I would like to underscore that the desire and ability of the administrations of specially protected natural areas to hold such events is the most important thing. Next year, we’ll see whether this movement will involve other nature reserves or not.

Question: What terms are you offering students this year, and what support does the Amur Tiger Centre provide them?

Sergei Aramilyov: This works like a classic student team. Russia has a sufficiently well-developed student team movement. Currently, student teams are building the Vostochny space centre, helping Russian Railways and so on. The Tiger student team is quite unique because this is the first team to address environmental protection issues in the Russian Far East. After two months of working in the wild taiga, students receive compensation, and this is seen as a bonus for underpaid individuals, rather than a salary. Careers in the field of environmental protection won’t offer them big salaries in the future. We believe that their choice deserves our respect, and we are always eager to support them financially.

Question: What will students do in their spare time?

Sergei Aramilyov: They will mostly help improve environmental trails and establish infrastructure facilities at the reserve. But this is not the most important thing. First of all, they will collaborate with professional and future colleagues.

This year, we have prepared a substantial curriculum. The Sikhote-Alin team includes Dmitry Gorshkov, director of Sikhote-Alin ; Olga Arifulina, the reserve’s deputy director for environmental education; Svetlana Sutyrina, deputy director for research; Anna Grishchuk, an expert with the inter-regional organisation Great Baikal Trail; and we are there to teach the students about the history of the reserve, its unique status, and about environmental education and research projects. We will discuss camera traps separately. And, of course, the Amur tiger, our main resident, will be the focus.

In my lecture “Amur tiger: facts and misperceptions”, I’ll try to discuss the truly unique and wonderful essence of this animal. The reserve’s administration will provide insight into their work, while organising guided tours for students to its central office. Naturally, students will also watch documentaries. There is also a sport programme, because you have to be strong to live in the taiga. Everyone knows that nature is unforgiving to weak animals and humans alike. So, our students are ready to play sports even after a hard day of work. They have already built a facility for team-building games. We have brought balls and badminton sets. Of course, there will also be the traditional big football game. Sport brings people together, and helps them to relax after a hard day of work.

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