The opening of the Environmental Treasures of Russia exhibition timed to coincide with the start of the Year of the Environment was held in the State Duma on 11 January. The ceremony was attended by State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport and Chair of the Supervisory Board of the Far Eastern Leopards autonomous non-profit organisation Sergei Ivanov and representatives and leaders of State Duma parties.
"Russia has rich environmental treasures, which are the heritage of Russia, our homeland. Much in the preservation of these treasures depends on us," Vyacheslav Volodin said in his address. He pointed out that Russia's environmental laws were adopted only recently and the Seventh State Duma should work to make them more effective not just in 2017 but throughout its term.
© Yuliya Maklakova
Sergei Ivanov at the opening of the Environmental Treasures exhibition
Sergei Ivanov said that in addition to showcasing Russia's unique natural wealth, the exhibition also highlights problems. "I am grateful to the deputies of the previous State Duma, who adopted a number of environmental laws. The new Duma will need to adopt several more laws, for example on the prevention of cruelty to animals, which is a much-discussed issue. I hope this law will be adopted this year, at last," Ivanov said.
He added that the situation with the world's rarest felines had stabilised. "The Far Eastern leopards are doing well. When I first addressed this problem, there were about 30 leopards in the Russian Far East. Researchers said that these leopards, the world's rarest surviving subspecies of leopard, were on the verge of becoming extinct," Sergei Ivanov said, adding that the decision to toughen punishment for poaching had produced the desired result: the number of crimes against endangered animals has plummeted.
The Environmental Treasures of Russia exhibition has been organised by the Far Eastern Leopards autonomous non-profit organisation, the State Duma Committee on Ecology and Environmental Protection and the State Darwin Museum.
"We wanted to give a special status to this event and to hold it at the State Duma, where not just deputies but also representatives of public organisations and journalists can see it, which can give a fresh boost also to the Far Eastern leopard project within the Year of the Environment," said Yelena Gangalo, General Director of the Far Eastern Leopards autonomous non-profit organisation.