Amur tiger killed in Mataisky refuge
According to the chief of the Wildlife and Protected Areas Service of Khabarovskii province Oleg Gunin, during patrolling the territory of “Mataiskii” regional wildlife refugee mobile group of the “Wildlife and PAs Service” and regional Police Department detained people involved in Amur tiger shooting.
On July 15, 2006, at 10 a.m. on the logging track in the upper stream of Pology Spring they inspected automobile Toyota “Land Cruiser”. Checking the vehicle, inspectors found two “Tiger” short rifles (type of firearm) and plastic bag with a gall bladder. The owner of the automobile and the firearms (let’s call him Mr. K.) turned to be the chief of the hunters and fishermen community of some Primorye hunting estate. He explained that was coming back after inspection within his hunting territory. When mobile group officers asked to open the luggage trunk for further checking, Mr. K. felt nervous and rejected to obey. Eventually after inspection of the luggage trunk they found raw salted tiger fur wrapped in a plastic bag.
Some minutes later automobile “Nissan Datzun” appeared on the road. These were two residents of Luchegorsk town of Primorskii province. One of them had a certificate of the game warden of a hunting estate and unfilled, stamped and signed blank for patrolling authorization. While checking the car inspectors found two illegal rifles. They explained that participated in the patrolling of the hunting territories of Mr. K and that they did not know where Mr. K. had got tiger fur.
During the questioning they tried to cheat the officers by explaining that they confiscated tiger fur from four strangers. They even named the place of confiscation. Inspectors checked the place and did not find any sign of human presence there. Mobile group inspectors made a decision to check winter cabin of Mr. K. in the upper stream of Priyomny Spring in Primorskii province.
In the winter log cabin inspectors found three more people – a guard and a hunter with the friend. The hunter (Mr. M.) – resident of Vyazemskii city of Khabarovskii province had two rifle guns, one of which was unregistered. While checking the cabin and surrounding territory they found direct evidence of the crime: bloody plastic bag – in the house, fragments of tiger fur – in the logs, tiger skeleton without scull and limbs – in a trailer near the cabin, about 45 kilos of tiger meat – in milk can in spring behind the trailer, tiger limb bones, scull and tail – in kapron sack in bushes behind the cabin…
Later Mr. M. confessed that on July 14 at 4 p.m. on the territory of “Mataiskii” wildlife refugee he had shot Amur tiger.
All infringers were taken to the regional Police Department. Rifle guns, protocols and detained derivates were passed to the regional Lazo Internal Affairs Department. They instituted the criminal case, and now all data are in Khabarovsk Interregional Environmental Prosecutor’s Office.
Coordinator of Biodiversity Conservation Program, WWF-Russia, Far Eastern Branch, Pavel Fomenko comments the situation:
- “Mataiskii” wildlife refugee is a corridor for Amur tiger, which is moving to and from Primorskii and Khabaroskii provinces. Naturally, it is extremely important to make this rout safety. That is why WWF supports the Wildlife and Protected Areas Service of Khabarovskii province with equipment and fuel to provide permanent work of inspectors in spite of any reorganization in nature conservation bodies. I really hope that the infringers will receive adequate punishment. Inspectors have all evidence databases. But, nevertheless, we should remember that history knows a lot of examples when our legislation system prevented punishment of malicious poachers and they escaped. And now publicity, in its turn, has the power to affect on.
“This precedent of revealing the infringement, says Oleg Gunin the chief of the Wildlife and Protected Areas Service of Khabarovskii province, shows the urgent need in cooperation between bodies of Ministry of Internal Affairs. This helps to investigate “following the hot scent”. Tiger murder, especially made by officials, should not be left without criminal sanction. Thanks to the support of Khabarovsk Government, “Khabarovsk Wildlife Foundation” and WWF inspectors of the Wildlife and Protected Areas Service are managing to cope poaching press on the nature protected areas and adjacent territories of Khabarovskii province.”
Fore more information:
Oleg Gunin, Chief of the Wildlife and Protected Areas Service of Khabarovsk province: +7 (4212) 315-919,306-156