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'The power of the taiga... perhaps only migratory birds know where it ends'
Anton Chekhov, 1890

Strict new criminal laws on the way to protect Siberian tigers and leopards

By The Siberian Times reporter
30 October 2012

The poaching, trade, transportation and possession of endangered animals is to be made a criminal offence in Russia.

'Trade, transportation and possession of endangered species becoming a crime is a long-awaited measure', said WWF-Russia CEO Igor Chestin. Pictured: amur leopard, via nnzoo.ru

The move from the Kremlin will help the survival of not only tigers but leopards in the Amur region and also snow leopards. 

'It is a significant step towards protection of tigers and other endangered species threatened by trade and poaching,' said Igor Chestin, WWF-Russia CEO.

'It is extremely hard to prove the fact of poaching, as tigers and other endangered species are killed in remote habitats. If stopped carrying the animals or their parts, poachers claim they found shot or captured animals dead.'

The blueprint for the new laws involved the WWF and came after meetings with President Vladimir Putin and the head of the Presidential Administration Sergey Ivanov. 

Both senior political figures are committed to the survival of these endangered big cats. 

Ivanov signed the orders for new legislation which will now be drawn up by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in co-operation with WWF-Russia. 

Until now, only killing an animal was considered a crime by the Russian legislation. Recently one man has been detected in possession of remains of 6 tigers, another one with 8 tiger skins. Under the current law they only may be eligible for an insignificant fine, said the campaigning organisation.

'Trade, transportation and possession of endangered species becoming a crime is a long-awaited measure that we believe will dramatically reduce poaching,' said Chestin.

In another move, the administration of Primorsky region in the Russian Far East, where 90% of the the country's tigers live, was requested to ensure no commercial timber harvest takes place in the regional protected areas and nut harvesting zones.

Earlier in October, Ivanov said the 'hunting and selling of Amur tigers and their derivatives, same as their transportation across the Russian border should become a criminal offence'.

'Sometimes I see on television how our border guards or customs officers seize huge bags of bear paws, skins and derivatives of tigers or leopards. There is no punishment for such actions. We must stop that and tighten the punishment, in particular, for transportation.'

WWF has claimed an annual poaching total of up to 60 Amur tigers. 

Only some two dozen Amur leopards exist in the wild and the animal is on the 'critically endangered' list. 

The tiger population is thought to number several hundred.

Comments (3)

Eduardo why don't you worry more about the rate your country's rain forests are being cut than this, in fact what tchnology has brazil ever created?
Brazilsux, London
12/08/2013 23:24
1
5
And China, will one day punish the consumers of products made of tiger bones and organs??
Eduardo Santos, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
01/11/2012 18:24
11
1
about time...!
Tania , C'wall
30/10/2012 15:20
11
1
1

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