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The Siberian Times

Massacre of polar bears by 'trophy hunters' on remote Arctic island

By The Siberian Times reporter
04 August 2017

Macabre remains of six slaughtered polar bears, 'beheaded with their skins removed', now under criminal investigation.

The skulls of the polar bears had been removed in a way that is consistent with trophy hunters. Picture: Russian Centre for Arctic Exploration

The gruesome evidence of illegal hunting was found on uninhabited Vilkitsky Island in the Kara Sea. 

The carcasses and used gun cartridges were found by members of an ecological clean-up team sent to the remote territory. 

Summer thawing meant the polar bear remains became visible. 

There are claims that local police initially sought to cover up the crime - possibly suggesting an elite hunting group was involved in the bloody massacre. But the prosecutor's office subsequently opened a criminal probe. 

Massacre of polar bears by 'trophy hunters' on remote Arctic island
Polar bear rugs are highly sought after in black market sales, where they can fetch around $17,000 each. Picture: Russian Centre for Arctic Exploration


Andrey Baryshnikov, head of the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration, said: 'When they spotted the carcasses they immediately got in touch with me via satellite connection because this is a very serious case. 

'We passed the information to the police.'

A case was opened once law enforcement received the gruesome pictures of the polar bear remains. 

'For now we cannot say exactly how old the bears were, or whether they were were male, female or cubs; nor is it clear how long the carcasses were there.'

Massacre of polar bears by 'trophy hunters' on remote Arctic island
Audacious hunters even left messages to each other scrawled on the island's lighthousehe. Picture: Russian Centre for Arctic Exploration


Deputy governor of Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region Alexander Mazharov said: 'There were many polar bears at Vilkitsky island and unfortunately poachers came to hunt them. 

'Our guys have already found several dead bodies of the animals.  

'Now we are gathering information. We won't let them get away with it.'

The skulls of the polar bears had been removed in a way that is consistent with trophy hunters. 

Polar bear rugs are highly sought after in black market sales, where they can fetch around $17,000 each. 

The slaughter of Red Book polar bears is illegal under international and Russian laws. 

Massacre of polar bears by 'trophy hunters' on remote Arctic island


Massacre of polar bears by 'trophy hunters' on remote Arctic island
One missive from Stepan to another hunter read: 'I was here, killed 5 bears, good luck to you.' Pictures: Russian Centre for Arctic Exploration


In April 2017 there was an expedition by Russian Geographic Society to Vilkitsky,' said Baryshnikov.

'They found a skin of a freshly killed polar bear. The offenders were caught very quickly and as I heard they were sentenced already. 

'These bears were not spotted then because they were under the snow obviously.' 

There are prolific numbers of bears on Vilkitsky Island 'and poachers obviously know that', he said.

'The investigation is ongoing.'

Yet there are also now reports that there are now no bears left on the isolated island.

Massacre of polar bears by 'trophy hunters' on remote Arctic island
The expedition sent to the island in July 2017 to remove Soviet-era waste. Picture: Russian Centre for Arctic Exploration


Audacious hunters even left messages to each other scrawled on the island's lighthouse.

One missive from Stepan to another hunter read: 'I was here, killed 5 bears, good luck to you.'

The expedition was sent to the island to remove Soviet-era waste as part of the Green Arctic project. 

The island is nine kilometres wide and about 18 km long, or 40 km including Vostochnaya Spit.

Discovered in 1874, it was named after Lieutenant General Andrei Vilkitsky (1858-1913).

Comments (14)

What a sorry bunch of scum bags to do this.....Oh that's right, they have what know as...."Tiny Penis Syndrome"
Steve H, USA
15/10/2017 05:02
3
0
From here the only thing i can do is share this article as much as possible so people worldwide get to know this. Please all of you share this article on social media, schools, etc. Only knowledge and wisdom can help to change attitudes.
Hedy Kloeg, The Netherlands
13/10/2017 19:33
8
0
Have we come so low is to kill a living breathing thing for money? This is so sad......Let creatures of different types live and breath as we do......“Bears are made of the same dust as we, and breathe the same winds and drink of the same waters. A bear’s days are warmed by the same sun, his dwellings are overdomed by the same blue sky, and his life turns and ebbs with heart-pulsings like ours.”
Ruthann Alberts, Lomabrd Illinois USA
30/08/2017 01:27
9
0
Audacious? Shouldn't that be worthless or useless or scumbag hunters and poachers? What type of lowlife scum would stoop to this? It's beyond appalling and disgusting and reaches a new low even for the trophy and poaching crowd. There are ways to find these losers and they need to be found and imprisoned and fined until they cannot afford to shoot a goldfish let alone a large mammal whose very existence is threatened. Just despicable and that includes any buyers involved in this heinous crime.
Joan Turpin, United States
29/08/2017 22:54
7
1
Please stop killing polar bear.
Heidi Koch, Morristown new jersey
29/08/2017 21:23
7
1
Stop saying hunters this was poachers. They are not the same. Poachers have no respect for animals, follow no laws. This was the work of poachers. Trophy hunters and poachers are not the same thing. This was not hunting it was poaching.
John Doe, South land
18/08/2017 20:57
1
7
On behalf of seal lovers everywhere, I say well done. Can you imagine the horror of all those dead baby seals at the hands of those monster bear predators? Who needs that?
Elmer D. Duckworth, USA
17/08/2017 22:52
2
15
Shame on the greedy,cruel hunters!
Maria Clara, Mamaroneck,New York.USA
11/08/2017 15:51
9
0
Please protect polar bears and send hunters to jail.
Elisabeth Casamitjana, Barcelona, Spain
07/08/2017 19:36
13
0
scum! catch them an let them lose where there are hungry bears....
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
06/08/2017 02:23
13
0
I agree with Nadsanan and Linda and thank you to everyone involved in investigating and prosecuting the criminals. I would just add to ask everyone to please help address the demand issue. One thing we can all do is to not participate in the demand and thank you to everyone who is not participating in the demand for any trafficked humans, animals, products, period.
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
05/08/2017 20:58
14
1
Please stop killing polar bear.
Anne Dubois, Belgium
05/08/2017 16:29
13
1
This is disgusting. I HOPE YOU CATCH THE MONSTERS who did this and prosacute to the fullest. Polar Bears have enough to contend with. People who do this are immoral.
Linda French, Canada
05/08/2017 11:31
16
0
Please help stop Polar Bears hunting or trophy if or any killed ASAP
Nadsanan Watcharakan , Glen Carbon Illinois UnitedStates
05/08/2017 02:57
14
0
1

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