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Cases of poaching for wild reindeer detected in the Nenets Autonomous District

21 april 2021
WWF-Russia experts found the skins of four wild reindeer, presumably killed by poachers in March this year. The species is red-listed in Russian Federation. Sad facts were revealed during the winter monitoring of animals of the Pezsko-Kosminskaya group in the west of the Nenets Autonomous District.
The expedition found the skins of two adults and a calf near a hunting hut on the shore of the lake, another one was found a hundred meters away, at the edge of a swamp. In addition, according to survey data, a herd of about 40-50 heads was killed in this area in early February.
“We sent all the information - photos, coordinates and descriptions - to the regional Rosprirodnadzor, - said Sergei Uvarov, coordinator of WWF-Russia projects in NAO. - Unfortunately, this is not the first report of poaching in recent years. Illegal hunting is the main threat to the region's endangered species. It is necessary to join the efforts of the authorities, business, scientists and ecologists - both for protection and for studying the population. And the recent expedition is one more step in this direction”.
During the survey, specialists from the Russian Academy of Science covered about 900 kilometers on two snowmobiles and examined the left-bank part of the Pesha river basin. They had to work in harsh conditions: this year the snow began to melt unusually early, there was almost no night frost and it was difficult to move on snowmobiles, especially in forest areas.
Skins near the hunters` hut
Traces of the herd - about 50 individuals
Fresh tracks of only one herd of wild reindeer (about 50 individuals) as well as tracks of three small herds of 6, 9 and 12 individuals were recorded. Also on the routes, scientists met traces of old trails, which indicates the regular use of the territory by reindeer during the winter.

According to the members of the expedition, the main threat to the existence of wild reindeer is poaching. The shooting of deer in late March - early April is massive. The result of the research should be reindeer conservation strategy on the territory of NAO, which should determine the main measures to reduce the negative impact on the population, including the organization of nature protected areas.
For additional information please contact
Press officer of the Barents project/Barents sea ecoregional program
Marine biodiversity Project coordinator