Tiger “disassembled into spare parts”
On February 8, customs officials revealed non-declared parts of wild animals which a Chinese citizen tried to carry out as contraband from Russia to China. Expertise done early in March by WWF-Russia experts stated that these parts were fragments of the Amur tiger skull weighting 30 grams as well as deer tendons and seminal glands.
“This is a new tendency observed recently when wildlife products are transported across the border illegally. Earlier tiger bones were transferred in sets but now tigers are moved in parts. Guests from The Heavenly Empire come to Russia as if to the shop buying the stuff and carrying it in pockets, - comments Pavel Fomenko, biodiversity conservation program coordinator at WWF-Russia, Amur branch. – Under these circumstances it is much more complicated for the customs officials to detect parts of wildlife products hidden in luggage, carry-on baggage, or clothes. Therefore, it is necessary for power structures to pay attention to revealing such “shops” operating in Russia and suppress their activities.”
Besides, WWF concerns about expanding the assortment of wildlife products transported across the border. Together with “traditional” products confiscated in 2007 by nature protection agencies, law enforcement bodies, border guards and customs services quite new items have appeared such as chorda, meat, rostrum of sturgeons, blood, hearts, deer tendons, moose nose, etc.
According to Fomenko, “Increased demand for these products, practically complete lack of governmental control is leading to growing uncontrolled poaching”.