Record haul of tiger skins in Russia Far East
A total of 8 tiger skins, along with other wildlife products including wild ginseng, 150 rifle catridges and USD150,000 in cash, were seized by local police, acting on information received, and in conjunction with WWF Russia staff.
Preliminary investigation indicates that the suspect has been engaged in buying wildlife products to sell to the Chinese market.
According to Sergei Aramilev, Species Program Coordinator at WWF Russia’s Amur office, the 8 tiger skins belonged to a male tiger, two female tigers, one young tiger of unknown sex, and four tiger cubs, one of which was only 1-2 months old.
“The number of tigers killed was probably higher as no skins of nursing females were found but one of the cubs killed was still suckling,” said Sergei. “It means that more female tigers were killed and sold.”
The large haul of tiger skins is akin to destroying the whole tiger population of the Province’s 120,000-hectare Lazovsky Nature Reserve which houses 8-11 tigers.
It is not known how long the suspect had been buying and selling tiger skins. But it is clear that the skins came from different districts of Primorye.
“This is the biggest amount of Amur tiger skins seized since Perestroika,” said Pavel Fomenko, Biodiversity Conservation Program Coordinator at WWF Russia’s Amur branch. “The record haul also points to the fact that demand for tiger products remains high in China and among new wealthy Russians.
WWF Russia continues to work with the Primorsky Province’s enforcement agencies to stop the illegal wildlife trade in the province.