Poacher got jail time for killing Amur tiger
WWF Russia’s staff participated in the crime investigation as forensic experts to determine the animal’s cause of death. The crime took place in May 2012 in a forest not far from a remote village in the north of Primorsky Province. The defendant chased and killed a female Amur tiger, skinned it and hid the skin near the river. Later he was caught with the skin when trying to sell it.
«Over the recent ten years this is the first criminal case when the culprit got jail time for killing a rare species, and we are satisfied with the court decision», notes Olga Zherebkina, legal advisor at WWF Russia Amur branch.
She also notes that in March 2013 the Russian Ministry on Natural Resources and Environment increased the penalty for tiger hunt more than two times, from 14.000 USD to 31.000 USD.
«So now tiger hunt threatens with both jail time and a huge penalty which considerably exceeds the possible profit a poacher hopes for», adds Zherebkina.
«WWF Russia monitors practically each case when rare species, especially tiger and Amur leopard, are found dead. According to our information, 22 cases of tiger death and one leopard death were registered in 2012-2013 in Primorye, comments Pavel Fomenko, biodiversity conservation program coordinator at WWF Russia Amur branch. Among these cases are the seizure of six tiger skins and an assortment of tiger bones in the city of Nakhodka in April 2012 and eight tiger skins in Arseniev in August 2012. We do not yet have judicial decisions on these high-profile cases and unfortunately, the violators are saving their time».
«In 2013, the Russian Government toughened up the punishment for illegal hunt and, what is crucial important, for rare species trade. This was the point WWF insisted upon. Now the matter depends on law enforcement authorities and court practice. Each case of tiger or leopard death should be investigated and cleaned. Only obligatory punishment can help stop poaching and have positive effects on rare species conservation», adds Fomenko.