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A sniffer dog helped the officers of the Blagoveschensk Customs Service to detain a large load of wildlife derivatives.
Премия рунета 2017

A sniffer dog helped the officers of the Blagoveschensk Customs Service to detain a large load of wildlife derivatives.

14 june 2011
According to WWF estimates, the largest contraband shipment of bear paws in the history of the Russian Customs Service was detained in the city of Blagoveschensk at the international check point «Blagoveschensk - Heihe».

The attempt to smuggle the large shipment of derivatives was foiled by the officers of the Blagoveschensk Customs check point and canine inspection unit of the Blagoveschensk Customs Service during inspection of a truck returning to China from Russia.

According to the Customs Service press agency, notwithstanding the fact that the truck was empty, the officers noticed unusual behavior from a sniffer dog and the nervous demeanor of the driver, a citizen of China.It was decided to conduct a search with special mobile inspection equipment.

Scanning of the vehicle revealed that in front of the load box between the two walls was a secret room with hidden bags of wildlife derivatives. There were 26 moose snouts (65 kilograms), 1041 brown bear paws (1244,8 kg), 5 mammoth tusks (81,9 kg) and 4 lynx pelts.

The contraband goods were confiscated. At present time analysis of the goods and interrogation of the suspects are ongoing. A criminal case was initiated on the basis of Article 188 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code (contraband goods). As WWF notes, despite the fact that brown bear and lynx are common game species in Russia, they are included in Appendix II of the CITES convention, which limits their commercial utilization outside of the country.

The confiscated load of bear paws is one of the largest in the modern history of the Russians Customs Agency,” commented Sergei Aramilev, Species program coordinator at WWF Russia, Amur branch. - “The murder of a bear - such an enduing symbol of Russia - just for his paws and gallbladder is barbaric, a base crime. To make up such a load it was necessary to shoot, at a minimum, 261 bears! The mutilated remains of this bears were left to rot in the forest, constituting a source of infection and disease.”

As Sergei Aramilev notes, the paws and gallbladder of bears are purchased from hunters and poachers for a pittance, and then transported to China, where they are considered both a delicacy and a potent medicine.

Recently, in very similar circumstances, another major smuggling channel was shut down, and both times it could not have occurred without the work of the Customs Service sniffer dogs, which is supported by WWF Russia in partnership with TRAFFIC,” said Sergey Aramilev, - “It is important to note that in Russia there is no special consideration for wildlife smuggling. The law only considers them as common goods, which makes it all the more difficult to reveal such violations. If measures are not taken to amend the legislation, the great efforts taken to investigate such crimes could be in vain.

For smugglers the brown bear is just a source of gulbladder and paws
© Vasily Solkin / WWF Russia