Big contraband channel blocked
Three plastic bags with 385 wild ginseng roots weighted 3,5 kilos were confiscated from Russian citizen by Far Eastern Operative customs officers. In the result of smuggling of precious plant listed in the Russian Red List of threatened species and in Appendix II of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) criminal case was instituted. Russian citizen is under the investigation process.
«All roots were in good salable condition . The packaging method indicates that roots were prepared for rapid transportation and were awaited for on the other side of the border. Most probably the Russian citizen knew that he was just a part of well-organized smuggling ring and committed an unlawful act,— comments Sergey Aramilev, WWF Amur branch biodiversity conservation programme co-ordinator. — Such a seizure is the closure of another illegal wildlife transportation channel. No secret that apart from wild ginseng roots, Amur tiger and Far Eastern leopard parts are illegally moved abroad through such channels”.
WWF Russia notes professional and well-organized actions of customs officers who show their high competence. Let’s remind that the organizer of smuggling to China of 3142 wild ginseng roots (29 kilos) received a 4 year jail sentence in 2008.
«Illegal harvesting of big packages of wild ginseng causes great damage to nature and country – notes Pavel Fomenko, WWF Amur branch biodiversity conservation programme co-ordinator, — Notwithstanding these facts as well as appeals of Russian Academy of Science and WWF Russia to the government, administrative agencies never took enough measures for effective protection of this rare plant».