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Rare footage of live sable caught in trap brings home reality of hunting

By Olga Gertcyk
23 October 2016

As new season starts, video of illegal trapping shows the source of fur for highly prized coats.

People remain fearful that more of the rare tigers - native to this region - are roaming the city. Picture: Nikolay Sleptsov

The scene with this frightened sable is believed to be in the Sakha Republic, and the conversation around the posting on social media indicate that the animal was not released but 'put in the backpack' by the hunter and sold. 

Forget the vast sums paid for sable coats in the West, the hunter here will receive 4,000 roubles ($64) for the skin of this animal, and may be less. 

One commenter suggests a different way for hunters to make money: 'Upload a video and ask people for 5,000 roubles if they want the animal to be released.'

Trapped sable

Trapped sable

Trapped sable

Trapped sable

Such snares mean the sable either die of injuries -  traps even brake bones - shock, blood loss, infections and during winter, frostbite. Pictures: Nikolay Sleptsov

This will not happen, of course. In Siberia, hunting has been part of life as long as people have lived here. There are issues around the use of traps by unscrupulous hunters. 

Such snares mean the sable either die of injuries -  traps even brake bones - shock, blood loss, infections and during winter, frostbite. For sable hunting such leg-traps are banned in Russia.

However, the International Fund for Animal Welfare has warned that new proposals for allowing traps for the hunting of certain animals are a 'green light' for poachers to go back to more widespread use of such methods. 

Sable hunt

Sable hunt

In Siberia, hunting has been part of life as long as people have lived here. Pictures: Mikhail Tarkovskiy

Maria Vorontsova, director of IFAW, Russia, said: 'In 2013 Russia implemented a ban on traps because Russia ratified agreement between the EU, Canada and Russia 'On humanisation of methods of hunting'. 

'Otherwise our country wouldn't be able to sell pelts. Respective changes were made to hunting rules back then. Russia was supposed to be fully in line with these standards starting from 2016. 


Fur coat

'In 2015, sales of sable skins exceeded the limit of their production by 120%.' Pictures: Alexander Ovcharenko, Olga Irvik

'And now they are trying to allow traps across the entire country. This is an unbelievably cruel way of hunting. If new hunting rules are introduced, it will demonstrate inconsistency and controversy of decisions made by the Ministry of Natural Resources.'

Last year was highly successful for the sable 'industry'. Natural Resources Minister Sergey Donskoy said: 'In 2015, sales of sable skins exceeded the limit of their production by 120%.'

Some fur farms, for example Verkhne-Purovsky on Yamal Peninsula have switched from mink in favour of sable. 

Comments (6)

I Would sentence EVERY person who hunted sables down and put them in bone breaking traps then send them to sex slave company's see how they would like being injured then sold
Sam, Canada
27/07/2020 15:53
This is a very one-sided understanding of the modern fur trade. The Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards -- which Russia, Canada and the EU signed -- does not ban trapping, but is intended to ensure that the most humane traps possible are used. For example: sable and other marten will, in future, only be taken with quick-killing traps. But it does make sense to use a natural, long-lasting and biodegradable material like natural fur, so long as this is well-regulated. Synthetics are usually made with petroleum -- which is a non-renewable and highly polluting industry. Better to support people who live close to the land and who understand nature. For more information, check out
alan herscovici, montreal, canada
26/10/2016 04:58
I agree with your comment ED. That is why I am a vegan and try very hard to not purchase any products derived from an animal source. We have to be willing to ask ourselves the tough questions and to look at all of the realities going on around us. Thank you for raising that point.
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
25/10/2016 21:39
"Ban the fur trade?" it's probably a good idea. and what to do with the modern food industry, in particular - on the production of meat, or leather and leather products.
From one end of the building conveyor carries on itself hundreds and probably thousands of chickens in a rather strange position every day. Their heads are fastened tightly and hang from ribbons to equal distance. At the end of the tape is twisted circular saw. The bird does not stay at the blade for a moment, but then, in the next shop already going without a head. prohibit the production of meat and leather products? food industry kills 1000 times more animals? than the hunters. Personally, you are ready to become a vegetarian? refuse to leather shoes and bags, etc.
ED, Russia
25/10/2016 19:47
Please don't purchase fur. We can all take that step to help everyone who is working so hard to protect wildlife. Traditional ways of life were not intended for mass production. People only hunted what was truly needed to survive and for those few who still do, poaching harms their communities. The majority of the people hunting at this point are hunting for greed. Thank you to everyone helping to stand up against greed, including the traditional communities. The same applies to the Canadian seal hunt certainly. I grew up in Canada and understand the anguish of such hypocrisy from my own country of origin.
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
25/10/2016 06:46
Ban the fur trade - Ban the Seal trade simple as that.
Grant Hibbs, Canada
25/10/2016 00:56

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