Maksim-wolf: a beloved colleague and friend

by Elleni Vendras

To our great sadness, our fieldwork assistant and dear friend Maksim Belotsky passed away on Friday, May 22. Maksim was only 35 years old.

In our team we used to call him Maksim-wolf because of his fascination for wolves.

Maksim Belotsky during fieldwork. © Maksim Belotsky
Maksim Belotsky during fieldwork. © Maksim Belotsky

Maksim was an extremely motivated, passionate and engaged colleague. He started to work for APB-BirdLife Belarus back in 2018. The fact that at first, he was denied the job he had applied for did not demotivate him: He offered to become a volunteer for the organisation instead, or as he described it, “I try to help to the best of my humble powers”. Being himself native to Polesia, he followed the GPS-collared wolves through the mires and forests of this beautiful landscape in all weather conditions and at any time of day. He was truly in love with nature and most fascinated by wolves. In his free time, Maksim ran a blog (Instagram @info_wolf) about his numerous adventures following the wolves and not only that. He was a big fan of wildlife, outdoor activities and equipment, and what he called forest cuisine. By profession, Maksim was an IT-specialist.

In the project, Maksim was mainly responsible for wildlife monitoring with camera traps, acoustic soundrecorder monitoring, hydrological monitoring and of course for tracking wolves. The data from this wolf tracking was published on the website vouk.by. Maksim was very happy about every new task and challenge. He lived and worked “to the fullest” – there wasn’t anything that he would do half-heartedly. His big dream was that people would stop hunt wolves and other wildlife.

 

For a long time, Maksim was treated for pain in his shoulder, but finally, he was diagnosed with cancer. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with his family and loved ones. We are eternally grateful that we have met Maksim with his contagious enthusiasm. He will always stay in our hearts.

… only a hike, only a route through the wild Polesian nature, taught me to appreciate and to celebrate the little things. And on the route this joy turns out to be sincere, occupying your whole world and all consciousness.

– Maksim Belotsky

Maksim Belotsky showing a wolf footprint. © Maksim Belotsky
Maksim Belotsky showing a wolf footprint. © Maksim Belotsky
Maksim Belotsky - we will always remember you. All film material was recorded by Maksim himself.
Elleni Vendras is a Project Coordinator at FZS.
Here you can read more about Maksim's wolf work and  his exciting adventures in his personal blog on Instagram.
The project “Polesia – Wilderness Without Borders” is part of the Endangered Landscapes Programme and is funded by Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. The project is coordinated by Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and implemented in collaboration with APB-Birdlife Belarus, the Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds (USPB) and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).