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FSB demands protection for brown bears after 36% reduction in numbers in 2 years caused by ‘poachers’

By 0 and 0 and 0
25 July 2018


FSB is calling for the bears to be labelled a strategically important resource and given far greater protection under the law. 

The brown bears are one of Russia’s great symbols but they are under great threat, according to the FSB, the Federal Security Service. 

The agency is calling for the bears to be labelled a strategically important resource and given far greater protection under the law. 

Between 2015 and 2017, numbers fell from 225,000 to 143,000, according to Georgy Avagumyan, a representative of the Prosecutor General's office which has also demanded Red Book protection for the species. 

Bear fangs

Bear paws

Bear paws

Bear paws

Gall bladders

Bear paws and gall bladders seized during the searches of smugglers in 2015 - 2017 in Siberia and Far East. 

A new law proposes increasing punishments to 10 years in jail for poaching or smuggling bear parts for individuals and 12 years for a gang. 

Fines would reach $15,800.

The FSB proposals would also apply to Himalayan - or black bears and musk deer.

This follows an upsurge in poaching and black market smuggling.

Bear paws are particularly appreciated in Asia where they are used as delicacies or in Oriental medicine including as a potency cure. 

The General Prosecutor's office cited Rosprirodnadzor - the federal agency for supervision of use of natural resources - stating that: ‘During  2016 and 2017, the customs in TransBaikal region, Primorsky region, Amur region and the Jewish autonomous region confiscated 189 bear paws….54 claws, and over two kilograms of dried bile'. 

Siberian musk deer

Musk deer fang

Siberian musk deer and its fang.

At the end of 2017, the FSB in TransBaikal region detained a local who had 468 bear paws and 37 elk heads in his car.

There are fears such a new law could criminalise law-abiding citizens seeking to protect themselves.

And some sources dispute the statistics saying brown bears are being decimated. 

The Ministry of Nature claimed bear numbers actually increased despite poaching from 203,600 to 245,100.

The black bear population has risen from 5,100 to 7,300.

The WWF say it is unnecessary to include brown bears in the Red Book 'because observations conducted in recent years did not show worrying changes' in numbers of the predators. 

Kamchatka brown bears

Kamchatka brown bears

Asian black bear

The Ministry of Nature claimed bear numbers actually increased despite poaching from 203,600 to 245,100.

Director of the WWF’s biodiversity conservation programme Vladimir Krever said: 'Bear paws are an Asian delicacy, because of which the demand for animals is constantly growing. 

‘We speak here of many hundreds of paws. 

‘The Siberian musk deer are used for perfumery, and also because of the tusks of males of these animals. 

‘There are a lot of attempts of illegal transportation, and they all violate the current legislation, so that such measures make sense.'

Comments (6)

I had lunch with a bear once..wonderful time.
Miggy, USA
26/01/2021 08:05
Mr Swanson. Your standards have merit, unfortunately I don't think they apply over there. This isn't a case of controling deer populations on Ruston Way in Tacoma Wa or the Burbs of Crescent City Ca. The Russians need to hit this hard and fast, that means real penalties and that means getting people besides to local sherriff in on the plan. Put them under protection and get the different agencies on board. Customs , FSB (formerly KGB) and other government agencies at a federal level involved. It's not easy to catch a poacher in the wilderness, you need assets to do it and you need to be able to intervene/enforce at all levels.
Scrat335, Seattle
06/08/2018 03:54
This is very disturbing Humans are taking away everything Natural and Free away from this planet all for geeed when there are no Animals left to Hunt, Kill, Experement on....What next??
Marissa, England
27/07/2018 16:19
Dear fred, as a responsible hunter you should count how many species of 'large' animals already got extinct because of human hunting. When you finish with that number, you can count how many large mammals (to make it easy) already exist reduced to basically 'testimonial' numbers.

Seriously, if you feel like a hunter, go to walmart and hunt a steak. Leave the animals alone. Or grow up.
I-need-a-new-citizenship (and a brand new name), Somewhere out there
27/07/2018 04:03
As a hunter and consumer of wildlife I want to see proper management of all wild life. proper licensing and hunting seasons with quotas. Listing as an endangered species ties up the resource for everyone and generally does not benefit the animal in question.
fred swanson, calif USA
26/07/2018 11:40
This is very sad news. The Russian authorities must get tougher with poachers. This wanton slaughter of wildlife must be met with swift action. Poachers caught in the act should be shot on site! Any one in possession or selling bear (or any other endangered species) parts should be put away for life.
Paul Gilbert, Canada
25/07/2018 21:40

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