Targeting of law enforcement agencies at rooting out poaching is one the crucial conditions for nature conservation
The report of Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, delivered at the forum in Vladivostok by the Far Eastern regional Department of Rosprirodnadzor was devoted to the issues of conservation of the rarest cat of the planet – Far Eastern leopard. The numbers of this species still remain on the critically low level – 35-45 individuals. One of the emergency measures taken by the government of the Russian Federation to preserve the leopard population is the decision to create “Land of Leopard” National Park.
“Undoubtedly, the establishment of the protected area alone does not guarantee saving and increasing the population numbers. It is necessary to provide not only the compliance with the regime on the whole territory of national park, but to concentrate on key directions of activity”, - it was stated in Sergei Ivanov’s report, and the tasks and certain problems were listed next.
First, to halt poaching, meaning ungulate hunting rather than illegal hunting for rare cats. “For effective result even large ranger service of national park, with professionally trained staff and equipment is not enough. What is important is its further interaction with law enforcement agencies and their course for rooting out poaching. Unfortunately, many problems can be clearly seen, especially in Khasansky district of Primorsky province”, - it was mentioned in the report.
According to data announced at the International Forum “Nature without borders” only 4 out of 12 criminal cases on illegal hunting on the territory of “Leopardovy” wildlife refuge initiated in 2009-2010 were brought into court. Three cases out of those 4 in respect of 8 defendants were terminated due to active repentance.
“WWF fully supports the position of Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov; and there is a fear that such wrong court practice in Khasansky district might be continued. That is why WWF experts are actively involved in providing juridical support to the reserve, - comments Sergei Aramilev, Species program coordinator of WWF Russia Amur branch. – It should be noted that Khasansky court decisions are absolutely opposite to the similar decisions in the other districts of Primorsky province. For instance, many times in Lazovsky district the court found guilty those people who not only illegally hunted and extracted wildlife objects on the territory of Lazovsky reserve but also those who were illegally hunting on the protected area but did not in fact extracted any animals”.
As it turned out, the criminal case in respect of Chesnokov, Asmolin, Rogachev and Matushenko which was mentioned in the report of S.Ivanov, was twice terminated by Khasansky court in reaction to active repentance of the defendant and both times the decisions about the termination of cases were canceled by the cassation appeal of the director of “Kedrovaya Pad” Nature Reserve. Presently, this criminal case was brought to the Khasansky court back again for a new consideration. According to preliminary information the hearing is appointed on October 20.