The number of helicopter excursions in the Uzon-Geyser area of the biosphere reserve has been reduced to a minimum. The annual conservation event is held in order to reduce the burden on the unique natural complexes and not to disturb the animals during the breeding season. The restrictions will remain in effect until the 30th of June.
With the appearance of abundant vegetation on the ground warmed by underground heat dozens of bears living in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve are going to the Valley of Geysers. The animals feed on young grass after a long winter sleep that lasted six months. They also have "weddings" here. The noise of helicopters and the presence of large groups of visitors would have a strong negative impact on the animals at a time when they are particularly vulnerable.
"Many people, of course, want to see bears grazing on lawns near thermal springs and bathing in natural warm baths, to capture their mating games in photos. But we must understand that the valley of the river Geyser in spring and early summer – a kind of oasis for animals, a refuge among the mountains covered with snow. Here they replenish their vitamin supply with fresh grass, multiply, and warm up. And they don't need to be disturbed. That is why every year we introduce a month of silence, when the impact of people on animals is minimal – said Peter Shpilenok, Director of the Federal State Budgetary Institution "Kronotsky State Reserve". – In order to tell people about the features of this place, the natural processes that take place here in the spring, during the month of silence, a limited stay of wildlife photographers and film crews is allowed in the Valley. They shoot materials for popular science publications and programs. Shooting animals takes place in a way not to disturb them with the help of long-range equipment or camera traps."
During the same period, the birds are distributed in nesting areas, incubate clutches and hatch chicks, including on thermal sites near the decking trails along which the excursion route passes.
"The valley of Geysers in May and early June attracts many species of birds: inhabitants of mountain tundra and deciduous woodlands. Schurs, wagtails, red-necked nightingales, remez buntings, and thrushes try to occupy nesting sites on this island of summer. The abundance of potential hosts attracts a large number of cuckoos to the Valley – distant migrants, visitors from South Africa. Taking advantage of the spring rush, cuckoos try to lay eggs in the nests of their host species. Life begins to boil about a month earlier than in the surrounding Srednegorye, " said Fyodor Kazansky, a researcher at the Federal State Budgetary Institution "Kronotsky State Reserve".
For the entire period of the month of silence, the number of helicopter landings in the Uzon-Geyser area of the Kronotsky Reserve (the Valley of Geysers, the caldera of the Uzon volcano, the bed of the Geyser River) is limited to one at a time. When issuing a permit to visit, preference will be given to a tourist group that plans to go to natural sites on helicopters such as Robinson, Eurocopter, Bell, Mi-2. These small rotorcrafts have a much lower noise level than the larger MI-8.
In addition to the restriction of helicopter excursions during this period, tourists are excluded from staying for many days, and overflights of the Geysernaya Riverbed, where bears also concentrate, are prohibited. The decision to issue a permit to visit natural sites will be promptly made by the service for the protection of protected areas on the day of the tour, based on how many bears are currently in the area of the board trails along which the route runs. This is necessary to reduce the anxiety factor of animals and for the safety of tourists.
Depending on the number of bears in the area where the educational route through the Valley of Geysers passes, the duration of the month of silence can be increased or reduced.