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Interview with Maria Kozhevnikova

Maria Kozhevnikova, editor of the National Geographic Rossiya magazine, spoke to Russia Today about protection of rare species in Russia.

Russia Today: Is the birth of flamingos  a success for the Moscow zoo?

Maria Kozhevnikova: Yes, that is a very successful story for the Moscow Zoo and for Moscow scientists because, for example, before they invented a special diet for these flamingos, they were too weak and did not have babies at all. Besides, another problem with the reproduction of flamingos is that flamingos can reproduce only if they live in a big group. In some zoos they even use mirrors to make flamingos believe that they live in a big group because they are very sociable birds.

RT: So, they are tricked by playing they are not alone.

M.K.: Yes.

RT: Please tell us about some other species that get special treatment?

M.K.: For example, recently we had an article in our magazine about the bears of India. You can see a lot of bears in India dancing on the streets with bear-trainers. These bears suffer from rather rude trainers and from different ills. Sometimes, their trainers even kick out several teeth to make them less dangerous. And now the Indian government, together with Indian special organizations, have made several rehabilitation centers for these bears, and they persuade bear-trainers to give up their bears. In return they would be given free education and a free new profession.

RT: Let’s hope this strategy is working. You did not talk about big cats though the theme is popular, the Amur tigers in particular. What sort of resources have to go into keeping their numbers high? Is it going to be very high maintenance?

M.K.: Yes, that is true. Of course, we need special national parks and special protection, and besides, even tourist interest can be dangerous for these tigers. For example, several years ago in our Far East there was a very sad story when one tiger appeared in the forest. There were too many tourists who were very much interested, and they were looking for this tiger trying to make photos and say “Oh, I have seen a tiger, you know”. And finally two tourists came too close to the tiger and he had to attack them. After that people had to kill this tiger. So, even tourists’ interest can be dangerous for them and we have to regulate it.

RT: There are a lot of issues to take into consideration. Of course, that is what National Geographic is doing. What is your strategy, what is your journal doing to help wild life preservation in Russia?

M.K.: Of course in every issue we write some things about this problem, and we are trying to make people know about that problem, and to tell people about new solutions for this problem all over the world. We are trying to make this world better.

Flamingo in Moscow Zoo

National Geographic Rossiya