Unique Operation: 600 Deer to Be Delivered to Evenkia by Air - 17 March, 2003

The airline of the Evenki Autonomous Area has launched a unique operation to move 600 deer from the village of Yamburg, Yamal, to the Evenki village of Tura, a source in the airline's directorate told RIA Novosti on Monday.

An AN-12 cargo jet will perform the first flight with deer on board later in the day, providing that the weather conditions are favourable.

In order to replenish the deer stock, the cattlemen of Evenkia purchased 1,000 domesticated animals from their colleagues in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area. The deer had already covered part of their way across the tundra and the taiga when specialists decided to deliver the does by plane so as to spare them the difficulties of the 1,500-km travel, which some of them might not have survived. Two AN-3s have already brought to Tura 12 deer, a few sledges and several deer-team drivers, or kayurs, whose task is to accompany the animals.

A special "storage element" has been set up near Tura's Gorny airport to accommodate the deer that were delivered by air.

Approximately 7 flights will be needed to move all the deer. After that, the flock will cover more than 300 km on their way to the village of Surinda.