Navigator sniffed a tiger
The examination carried out with the support of a WWF Russia expert revealed tiger derivatives attempted to be smuggled across the border.
A Sniffer Dog Service officer and his dog Navigator, a German Shepherd, found suspicious objects behind the driver's seat in a truck bound to China. It was a plastic bag with organic substance weighing 1.2 kilograms, and transparent bag with two fragments of animal jaw weighing 50 grams.
The officer was first alerted by the dog’s reaction, but it was not clear what was in the package. At first glance the substance resembled dog food of brown color. But Navigator could not calm down and stayed nervous. The dog’s nose did not let Navigator down: the examination confirmed that the mixture contains a substance of tiger tissue while the jaw belonged to a tiger cub.
According to the forensic expertise, the shipment detained by Blagoveschensk Customs is a chopped blend of tiger and bear meat and bones prepared in a special way.
According to Pavel Fomenko, biodiversity conservation program coordinator of WWF Russia Amur branch, notes, “This is not the first time that animals are smuggled as ready-to-use-mixes. And the fact of their seizure once again proves the importance of the Sniffer Dog Service and the professionalism of all staff and experts engaged in protecting biodiversity in Russia. Amur tiger is one of the strongest animals in the world, but it is powerless against human greed. Trying to smuggle tiger derivates to China is only a part of the illegal business chain which participants try to make money on wildlife sell out. Tougher penalties for illegal production and trafficking of rare species became an adequate response of the authorities to poachers and smugglers, due to the amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation in 2013, including the article on smuggling”.
A criminal case has been initiated; urgent investigation is underway. The culprit can be sentenced to 3-7 years in jail and fined up to one million rubles.