A shocking quantity of bear paws and pelts as well as slain tigers and eagles (species included in the Russian Red Book) were uncovered in Nakhodka city during a joint raid of the police and the Federal Security Service
A businessman from the city of Nakhodka and his accomplices were arrested. According to information from the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the course of the search the following were discovered in refrigerated containers: 148 bear paws, 2 Himalayan bear pelts, 3 brown bear pelts, 2 Amur tiger pelts, 5 whole eagles. On the basis of these finds a criminal case was opened.
'The quantity of uncovered animal remains is shocking. Law enforcement specialists need to thoroughly investigate how and where they were killed. The bear pelts could be legally procured and be considered personal trophies. But based on the quantity of bear paws - that is minimum 37 killed bears. To take such a quantity legally is simply impossible. There is no demand for bear paws in the Russian market. This means that most likely they were intended to be smuggled to China or South Korea,” commented Sergei Aramilev, biodiversity conservation program coordinator at the Amur branch of WWF Russia. “And the tiger pelts are a whole separate issue. It is illegal to sell such pelts either on the domestic or foreign market. It is necessary to call on specialists to carefully examine all seized animal derivatives. Such an investigation will determine the size of the fine and the severity of the punishment.
According to press reports, further investigation of this case by the police and Federal Security Service was conducted on a tract of private farmland near the village of Lazo, on the border of the Lazovsky Nature Reserve. In the course of this investigation a slain Sika deer was discovered on the premises. It is forbidden to hunt this species in Lazo County, because the population in that region is considered unique and endangered and is included in the Red Book of the Russian Federation.
Investigation of this case continues. WWF hopes that this case will be pursued to its conclusion, and that all members of this criminal group will face punishment.