Hunters calling for wildlife crossings on new Estonian-Russian border

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A moose. Source: Minupilt.err.ee/Cristo Pihlamäe

As the Ministry of the Interior is planning to develop new border infrastructure in northeastern Estonia, the Estonian Hunters Society sent a letter to the ministry, reminding them of the importance of passage points for game migration.

"Borders have been thought up and placed by man. Animals live by their eternal behavior patterns. There are migrations, especially for big game, whether it be for feeding, mating season, territory or for young animals becoming independent. All these migrations have happened between Estonia and Russia for ages," Mati Kivistik, chairman of the Võru County Hunters Society, said.

He added that Võrumaa hunters are worried because they received info that there will be no passage points built into the new border infrastructure for game to pass through.

"We as hunters certainly understand that this border fence is important from a national security perspective, but it should not come with such sacrifice to nature. Seeing for example how animal bridges are regulated on Tallinn-Tartu maantee, thinking of our infotechnological capabilities, it is hard to imagine that we could not do something analogous for border points," Kivistik added.

Egert Belitšev, deputy border guard director of the Police and Border Guard Board, explained that there will be sections of the border left without fences that animal scan pass through.

"There should be no worries because there are gaps in all border construction sections. Gaps are longer in some places and shorter in others. In actuality, the gaps exist and animals can pass through," the border guard expert promised.

"When it comes to Estonia, there are natural locations where we would not build a fence anyway. If someone says there are no special crossings for animals, then yes, we are not building special crossings, but we do have gaps in the fences, whether for ourselves or for natural conditions," Belitšev confirmed.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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