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Poacher fined 23 200 USD for killing an Amur tiger

24 november 2010
WWF believes this sentence to be a turning point in the Russian environmental court practice.

November 24, Ussuriysk, Russia. Magistrate of a court in the Primorsky Krai, a Russian South Far Eastern territory, found Sergey Burtsev guilty of killing a female tiger in June 2010 in the surroundings of Krounovka village.

The court imposed a fine of 150 thousand rubles ($4800) as punishment and additional fine of 575 125 rubles ($18 400) as a compensation for the environmental damage to the State. Sergey Burtsev already paid $1600, and the court confiscated his two illegally possessed plain-barrel guns.

“I’m very satisfied with the court decision”, says Pavel Fomenko, biodiversity coordinator at WWF-Russia Amur branch. “We had an opportunity to provide the quality of expertise and full evidence needed for the case on illegal hunting. Finally, the law triumphed in a tiger case. I hope that from now on, tiger killers will be prosecuted without mercy”.

Poaching is still one of major threats to tiger conservation. Reinforcement of environmental control and punishment for illegal trade, keeping and trafficking of tiger skins and other parts was included in the proposals that WWF submitted to the Russian Government this year. WWF-Russia believes that punishment for trade, trafficking and keeping of tiger parts must be more severe and comparable with punishment for tiger killing.

We are planning to toughen punishment for tiger poaching and for the criminal business on these animals”, said Russian Prime-Minister Vladimir Putin in his introduction speech at the International Tiger Conservation Forum in St. Petersburg.

The planned legislative changes are very relevant and timely because at present tiger poachers can’t even be sentenced to imprisonment”, says Gennady Zherebkin, law enforcement advisor of the WWF-Russia Amur branch. “The latest court decision on tiger killing is one of the few cases when a tiger poacher was found guilty of a criminal offence. A similar sentenced was passed in the Primorsky region in 2004. It doesn’t mean that during 6 years in between no one killed tigers. It’s just that unfortunately, such crimes are difficult to prosecute. In this case we won thanks to cooperation between environmentalists, law enforcement authorities and judiciary”.

The poacher was arrested when he tried to illegally sell Amur tiger bones by the local police
© WWF-Russia / Pavel Fomenko
Pavel Fomenko, biodiversity coordinator of the WWF-Russia Amur branch, conducted the expertise, which ensured the needed evidence for the illegal hunting case.
© WWF-Russia
The investigation showed that in June 2010, this man killed a female tigers with two shots from a plain-barrel gun
© WWF-Russia / Pavel Fomenko
The court proceedings
© WWF-Russia