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Putin Promises 11 New Wildlife Reserves

Putin visiting the Ubsunur Hollow Biosphere Preserve in the Tuva republic. Alexei Druzhinin

Russia will get 11 more new wildlife reserves and 10 national parks over the next decade, and environmental inspectors will get a boost in both number and salaries, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Friday.

The total area of the country covered by wildlife reserves will grow from 2.7 percent to 3.2 percent by 2020, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Yury Trutnev told Putin at a government meeting on a wildlife reserve development program, which is to be finalized by January.

The country will also boost revenues from ecotourism, currently bringing in a meager 350 million rubles ($11.3 million) a year compared with $14.2 billion in the United States, Trutnev said, Interfax reported.

“Natural resources came from the Almighty, and we have to care for them,” Putin said at the meeting. He toured a wildlife reserve in the republic of Tuva earlier this fall, setting up “phototraps” for endangered snow leopards, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Friday.

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