Snow leopard parts were confiscated by police in Altai
WWF experts made an expertise to identify all possible info on the skin. Fortunatelythe skin appeared to be not of Guta, a female snow leopard photo-trapped in 2013 last and not being captured by cameras any more. DNA –samples were taken for analyses to clarify the area where the snow leopard might has been poached in Russia. It was possible to find out thanks to the DNA database that has been being collected through WWF monitoring for several years. Presumably the poacher might be fined as much as 1 mln. roubles and face up to two years of penalty.
Except for the derivatives of a rare predator the police found 20 paws of a brown bear with no any documents to prove the legal hunting (as a brown bear is a game species in Russia).
“Usually snow leopard are poached by local people who live close to the habitats of the cat. They use metal snares for catching an animal while he walks along its normal paths. Snares are not visible for an animal that get into the loop and strangles itself easily. Then they sell it to the black market traders who take the derivatives for further sale” says Natalya Trofimova, the Head of WWF Altai-Sayan programme.
Eastern leopard and a Caucasus leopard have effective conservation programmes” says Vladimir Krever, WWF Biodiversity Director. “A snow leopard conservation programme still remains unattended by the government despite being prepared by WWF”.
The total number of the snow leopard population in Russia is estimated by WWF experts at 70-90 individuals. Poaching is the major threats for a rare predator.