Before dawn on September 25 Head of saiga conservation in Kalmykia Gosohotinspektsii Uldis Karlovic Knakis together with the driver Peter Ye Volokhov left Elista car GAZ-69 in another raid in the steppe.
From foggy gray haze floated soon the sun. Silvered autumn wormwood steppe. Along the road on telegraph poles occasionally met Eagles sitting motionless. Like a vision of the desert, grazing on the plain were huge camel. From the burnt grass and then raised flocks of waders, the road in front of the hood of the car swiftly crossed the larks.
On the highway the car turned right on virgin soil in the open steppe. Soon appeared on the horizon the first large herd of saiga. «Thousands of the three, at least,» — said to myself, Uldis. Without looking up, he carefully scanned the sprawling around the silver given.
Frequent trips to the protection of the saiga in all seasons, seemingly monotonous steppe altercation with poachers — all this has become for Uldis life, with whom he szhilsya, but his soul is restless, insatiable interest in nature could not make it into work everyday habit. And now someone else in his place, probably would sleep next to the driver, while the neighborhood is not seen nothing suspicious. For him, the steppe was always new, he listened eagerly to every manifestation of life in it and tirelessly traveled across the steppe in search of encounters with poachers.
Let’s go up there on the hill — he suggested to Peter and the car rushed to the Mount. — And now to the right, through the saga and to the point, which is her. (Saga — locally called the downgrade in the desert poured spring water. In the autumn of the saga is dry and devoid of vegetation. The point — the local name for a small house and a complex of buildings for the accommodation of the shepherd and the sheep of content).
A herd of saiga, horrified machine promptly claimed off. It travels along the steppe dust.
The driver said:
— All is calm, Uldis Karlovic. It is time to have lunch.
— No. You wait a little longer — posted Uldis — come to the tower.
The car pulled up to the geodesic tower, stopped her, and rapid, lean Uldis got up and looked around for a long time the steppe with binoculars. Then they went on again, and so, almost without rest, until darkness drove across the steppe. Overnight accommodations in residential shepherd point. Boil tea, snack. The driver tried to persuade:
— Uldis Karlovic, sleep, in my opinion, it is necessary to go to bed, all is quiet.
— Do you have a rest, — said Uldis — and I climbed on Kosharite.
Peter nastlal straw, spread the sleeping bag, I lay down on it. I wanted to sleep. Uldisa something was not long. Peter has already started to doze off when he returned. He almost ran into Kosharite.
— Get up! Hurry, hurry! In the steppes of the machine. Hunting with a headlamp.
A few minutes later, when the driver took his place behind the wheel and put on a helmet with night vision devices, they rushed into the steppe. Uldis corrected direction. Far ahead in the steppe of methane flared and quenched with light blue headlights. So he went out at all. Where to now?
— Stop! Wilderness motor.
Darkness. Overhead, the stars dim. Quiet. Poacher car like vanished. We waited half an hour, an hour. Until the pain in the eyes peered into the night. No. Lost car.
We returned to Kosharite. And after some time away shot sounded, and again in the night swept up the rays of headlights. Again Uldis rushed in pursuit, and again the lights disappeared like a ghost. Uldis realized poachers experienced from time to time they stopped, jammed motor, lights quenched and listened. They heard the chase. And there was a «game of hide and seek.» After midnight, the machine poachers disappeared altogether.
Uldis and Peter relaxed afternoon. Less than before, but still quite a lot of them were circling over the steppe in the area of the same animal shelters. Have you seen signs of a truck seen saiga. Those were grazing as if nothing had happened.
Returned night. And again shied away in the darkness of the sky pale blue rays. Again began the pursuit. Same it was the car or the other, it is difficult to understand. But the handwriting is the same. Uldis gritted his teeth: «Today will not miss» — firmly he decided. The team followed the command: «Right! Hurry! Right! Faster! Wilderness motor! Stop! Let’s go to the left, to the left, pull devil! So, right. Stop! Let’s go! «
Out of the darkness swam outlines some other animal shelters, silhouettes ricks. Have already become close, poaching car headlights suddenly went out. From the house came from animal shelters shepherd. He shouted that the machine is hiding behind stacks. But Uldis did not hear it. He was in a fever. Catch, only to catch. GAZ-69 began circling over the steppe. For a moment, I saw the driver leaving without light trucks. Nearest motor roared. Poachers turn on the lights, and immediately a bright beam headlamp rezanula the eyes of the body of the machine.
— Take off your instrument! — Shouted Uldis.
— Turn on the headlights!
Now the chase began in the open. Only from poaching machine-blank shine spotlight deliberately blind.
— Stop! Stop! — Uldis shouted, opening the car door. — Ah well!
And he shot took a little above the machine, a missile. Her light picked out the body, filled with dead saiga. Poachers continue to go in circles. Uldis replaced pistol to shotgun. The sight down the slopes. Shot. Poachers have begun to turn sharply. Sitting next to the driver and fleeing pursuer turned against each other. And at that moment something elastic tightly lashed the tarpaulin jeep. «Uldis Karlovic! — Shouted the driver. — Shoot us! «. «Nothing nothing. They do not go away. Even pull devil! «And again a sharp blow. Something cracked a door. Something ozhglo forehead Peter. Uldis groaned and leaned on the driver’s entire body. He swerved to the left.
— Uldis Karlovic, are you hurt?
— Nothing nothing. They will not go!
But the jeep had raced to shepherd point. Peter stopped the car at the door of the house. Uldis was unconscious. Peter in his arms brought him into the house. He ripped his shirt. The breast Uldis gaping bloody wound …
Maybe if it were close to experienced surgeons, if … But it happened at night in the desert, far away from human settlements.
Now everyone has the right to ask a lot of questions.
Why WK Knakis left arm only together with the driver? After all, the poachers have threatened him with violence.
Why is the machine not equipped with walkie ranger? There would be a portable radio, a killer could not get away, and wounded Uldis probably could have been saved.
Finally, why poachers decided on such an extreme step, to kill a man?
Hunting the saiga closed for two years. They became much more. Saigas comes close to a flock of sheep, they go even animal shelters. And in the steppe scattered mass shepherd points. Kill the saiga can be close to home. But more than half of the protocols drawn up gosohotinspektorami not those who beat one saiga, and poachers on the machines. They kill dozens of antelopes.
Interesting statistics. In three years (1967, 1968, 1969) in the Kalmyk ASSR was made up at 963 poachers protocol. Of these, public inspectors — 170, and the police just 7 minutes. The lion’s share of the work falls on the protection of wildlife. During hunting saiga it is made: in 1967 — 84 in — 75 and 1969 — 62 protocol. ESP avtobrakonerstvo: in 1967, 43 in 1968 — 19 and 1969 — 41 minutes. During these years, poachers only registered and, of course, incomplete data produced: in 1967 — 65, in 1968 — 118 ive 1969 — 139 saiga.
Let’s look at these statistics.
Firstly, there is an active, not damped the fight against poachers in Kalmykia. And, of course, especially in this great merit Gosohotinspektsii. But statistics do not reveal everything. How many more poachers gone unrecognized over the years? Inspectors say poachers are fewer, and the remaining become more experienced, careful.
Second, in spite of the active struggle against poachers, the saiga is shot by them at least, and probably more. Where are these antelopes? What can one participant poaching a dozen inherited his share of the antelope? Why are so far no one had not occurred to trace this strange way of saiga killed by a poacher up to the «market». It is not for fun poachers organize brigades and hunt at night with a headlamp, risking fines, a criminal case, and finally, his reputation in the service?
Why participate in the police anti-poaching so little? Probably forgotten directive of Ministry of Internal Affairs of the RSFSR in 1962 of all facilities and business contacts of the police with hunting inspection. However, in Kalmykia police nebezuchastna Gosohotinspektsii to work, but only after the tragedy of September 26, it was decided to organize joint raids by police and saiga hunting inspection. And if such raids were before? Then today, most likely, we would not have to sum up short and colorful life WK Knakisa.
Our magazine is not the first time raised the theme of protection of the saiga in Kalmykia. The number 4 of 1969 to number 1 for 1970, we have already written about it. We paid attention to the possibility of cases of illegal hunting of the saiga as the criminal cases under Article 166 para. 2 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR. However, in Kalmykia somehow still believed that the application of this article requires a fact of mass shooting of a group of saiga poachers.
We can not say that in KASSR cases on poachers do not pay attention. As a rule, all the cases considered by the relevant authorities. But, alas, the punishment is still too soft. Administrative Commission for the shooting of a saiga can not impose a fine of more than 20 rubles. In the history of the fight against poachers, saygachatnikami there was no Eyre, except in the case that was described in our magazine in the article «under special control» (№ 1, 1970).
Current poachers have become more experienced, careful. But if they have experienced the full force and rigor of the law applicable to them, there is no doubt that at that time hunting saiga did not show them any pleasant or profitable?
Many still shortcomings in the fight against poaching. Hunting supervision needed portable radios, powerful and high-speed vehicles. After the poachers easily go from the old GAZ cars. But even now, even in the present conditions the fight against poachers can be further strengthened. The area of the present distribution of saiga antelopes on the right bank of the Volga lies between Elista, Volgograd and Astrakhan. Statistics show that the poachers are the machines most often appear in the Volgograd and Astrakhan regions. Now in search of the killers WC Knakisa allocated large police forces of these cities. And before that? Had the police not only from Elista, Volgograd and Astrakhan, and took the cross «fire» their activities saiga steppe!
Alas, only the death of W. Knakisa stirred up all those who somehow feels is now guilty of his death.
Maybe poachers read this article and secretly rejoice. Removed supposedly very troubled guard tribe saiga.
Sooner rejoice. Even went to a joint patrol his colleagues hunt inspectors and the police. And there will be no concessions poachers-saygachatnikam nor the one who raised his hand Uldis. The killer is not conjugated, not off the hook.