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Amur tiger. Bones

20 october 2014
A special examination carried out by WWF-Russia Amur branch and “Amur Tiger” Center experts confirmed that a large party of bones uncovered by the Primorsky Province police belonged to Amur tigers.

The suspects in the illegal trafficking of tiger parts were detained by the special security services of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs that answer for combating the illegal exploitation of animals listed in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation.

According to the press release of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs of Primorsky Province, in the course of the police raid an animal carcass was discovered in the cabin of a minivan, which had been stopped on the federal highway «Khabarovsk - Vladivostok» in Mikhailovsky district of Primorye. After further searches of the suspects three bags of bones of different shapes and sizes were uncovered. The seized animal parts were sent for the examination to the “Amur Tiger” Center and WWF Russia.

“In the course of a special examination together with the “Amur Tiger” Center we were able to identify one of the largest parties of tiger bones confiscated in Primorsky Province in recent years. Unfortunately, it is an irreplaceable loss for Russian wildlife, - said Pavel Fomenko, Species Program coordinator at WWF Russia Amur branch, who carried out the examination of the bones. - Further investigation will clarify the details of the crime.”

In 2013, the Government of the Russian Federation significantly toughened the punishment for illegal hunting and, even more importantly, for trade in rare species, as WWF insisted upon. Article 258.1 was appended to the Criminal Code of Russian Federation and criminalizes not only illegal taking of but also the  purchase, storage, transport, transfer and sale of highly valuable wild animals and marine living resources, as well as their parts and products, protected by the Russian Federation and/or by international agreements with Russian Federation. These acts are punished by up to 7 years of imprisonment and up to 2 million rubles fines.

In August 2014, one year after Article 258.1 came in force the first guilty verdict for possession and distribution of the Far Eastern leopard skins was imposed in Vladivostok. A new investigation of illegal trafficking of tiger parts, which is now being carried out by the law enforcement agencies of Primorye complements this court decision. Each case of the death of the Amur tiger and Amur leopard should be investigated and solved. Only the unavoidability of punishment can stop poaching and preserve rare species”- says Fomenko.

Investigation of this case continues. WWF is ready to provide examination and technical support to state law enforcement agencies involved in the protection of biological resources and suppression of crimes in this area.

Killing of the Amur tiger is an irreplacable loss for the Russian wildlife
© Vasily Solkin / WWF Russia
Amur tiger. Bones
© Photo of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation in Primorsky Province