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BROCHURE RACK

Russia to clamp down on wildlife crime

30/10/2012 11:56:36
world/Asia/Asia july 10/amur_tiger_wwf

New protection has been put in place for Russian tigers. © WWF-Canon / Vladimir Filonov

Kremlin boosts protection for tigers
October 2012. Trade, transportation and possession of endangered species will all be considered crimes under new legislation proposed by the Kremlin, following discussions with WWF.

Tiger hunting is probably the biggest factor in the decline of tigers this century which has seen the world has lost 97 per cent of its wild tigers, including four sub-species to extinction. There may be as few as 3,200 of the endangered animals remaining. But until now, law in the Russian Federation, home to many of the world's remaining tigers, only considered the actual killing of an animal to be a crime. Poachers who are stopped carrying the animals or their parts claim they found them dead.

"It is a significant step towards protection of tigers and other endangered species threatened by trade and poaching," said Igor Chestin, CEO of WWF Russia who was heavily involved in discussions with the government. Russia has agreed for its Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to prepare the draft law in cooperation with WWF.

Tiger skins
Recently one man was found in possession of the remains of six tigers, another one with eight tiger skins. Under the current law they only might be eligible for an insignificant fine.

WWF and its partner TRAFFIC, the wildlife monitoring network, are campaigning for greater protection of threatened species such as rhinos, tigers and elephants. Demand for ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts from consumer markets in Asia is driving wild populations dangerously close to extinction. WWF is calling on governments to combat illegal wildlife trade and reduce demand for illicit endangered species products.

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

Tiger habitat protection
WWF is also happy to see steps being made towards more protection for tiger habitats. The Primorsky region, where 90% of the Russian tigers live, was requested to ensure no commercial timber harvest takes place in the regional protected areas and nut harvesting zones. Regional administration was also ordered to prevent any commercial logging in upper and middle stream of the Bikin River.

Amur tigers
By the 1940s, hunting had driven the Amur tiger to the brink of extinction-with no more than 40 individuals remaining in the wild. The subspecies was saved when Russia became the first country in the world to grant the tiger full protection.

By the 1980s, the Amur tiger population had increased to around 500. Continued conservation and antipoaching efforts by many partners-including WWF-have helped keep the population stable at around 400 individuals. In 2010, the Russian Government adopted the Strategy for Tiger Conservation, making commitments to double the number of wild tigers by 2022 and to stiffen punishment for those caught smuggling tiger products.

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

Tigers in the wild

It is a disgrace that there are more tigers in zoos than are left in the wild, so Congratulations! to Russia for taking this action to help preserve those that remain in the wild. Now can something be done about the criminal trade in tiger parts in China and Vietnam?

Posted by: Andrea Polden | 02 Nov 2012 23:07:37

Wild tiger protection

Well done Russia for taking stronger action to clamp down more heavily on tiger poaching in their country. Until recently it has obviously been far to easy for some unscrupulous people to get away with poaching these magnificent animals from their forest home. If only more protection can be given to the the big cat, its prey species and forest habitat then the numbers of Amur tigers should hold steady and even increase in numbers. Well done also for those NGOs' that are working in the field to help save the remaining number of wild tigers from extinction.
www.tigersintheforest.com

Posted by: Michael Vickers | 02 Nov 2012 16:39:49

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