Sad statistics from the Amur!

February 25th 2012 – a 6-month-old young tigress named Cinderella was found barely alive in Primorye. At the moment, she is kept at the rehabilitation centre and is being prepared for return back to the wild.

March 17th 2012 – a male tiger cub supposedly from the same litter with the tigress Cinderella was found extremely undernourished. Despite all attempts by veterinarians, the animal died.

April 10th 2012 – Primorsky police searched the home and office of a well-known local businessman, Evgeny Romanov, and found a large number of skins and derivatives of wild animals including 148 bear paws, two Asiatic black bear skins, three brown bear skins, two skins and five tails of Amur tiger, and five dead sea eagles.

April 17th 2012 – customs officers in Primorsky Province in Russia’s Far East have arrested a Chinese woman as she attempted to smuggle three Amur tiger paws across the border into China. After an investigation into the origin of the paws, it was found that they were from two different tigers.

April 21st 2012 – a male tiger dubbed Gryazny (Dirty) was found washed ashore dead.

August 24th 2012 – eight Amur tiger skins were seized from a resident of Arseniev town in Primorsky krai.

On December 2-3 and December 6, 2012 three orphaned tiger cubs were found in Yakovlevsky district of Primorye and transported to the rehabilitation centre near Alekseevka village.

On January 10-11, 2013 – a 6-month-old tiger cub was found with a traumatized paw near Svetlogorye village, and now the animal is kept at Utyos Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Khabarovsky krai.

January 15th 2013 – police officers discovered an Amur tiger skin illegally transported by train from Vladivostok to Khabarovsk. A train conductor was asked by a stranger to deliver a package to a man in Khabarovsk. During routine inspection, a tiger skin was found in a plastic bag. Experts believe that it was a 1.5-year-old tiger. There was a bullet hole on the skin that indicates that the animal supposedly was killed by poachers.

February 5th 2013 – Primorsky police arrested a women charged with illegal trade of the remains of a tiger cub – a skull, legs and rib cage.

February 14th 2013
– wildlife managers rescued a 6-month-old female tiger cub caught in a trap in Kavalerovsky district. The animal was extremely emaciated. His leg was seriously traumatized. The cub was transported to Arseniev town where it was urgently operated by veterinarians.

February 17th 2013 – Ussuriisky police officers and wildlife managers arrested two residents charged with killing a 4-year-old Amur tiger. The detained suspects had killed an Amur tiger and then tried to sell its skin, bones and cartilages.

February 21st 2013 – a 6-month-old male tiger cub was found in Kavalerovsky district of Primorye.

February 25th 2013 – a 6-month-old tiger cub was found extremely emaciated 60 km from Svetlogorye village, Pozharsky district of Primorye.

TOTAL: 8 tigers were rescued and 17-20 tigers were lost

Sergei Bereznuk, Director of the Phoenix Fund:
“There are no words to express our indignation. For less than one year this is the eighth tiger cub taken from the wild due to its young age and inexperience to survive on its own. We are almost 100% sure that their mothers died. And they were most probably killed by poachers. If we also add unprecedented seizures of tiger skins and bones by law enforcement officers in Primorye and Khabarovsk, one can say that we have lost a few dozens of Amur tigers in just over 12 months. And the situation can become irreparable soon because tigers gene pool has become depleted. Our State Duma spent too much time considering Kremlin chief of staff Sergey Ivanov’s initiative to turn capturing, trade and transportation of rare and endangered species into a criminal offence. That is why poachers and wildlife traffickers are trying now to preserve as many tiger skins and bones as possible. While our deputies are dealing with other problems they consider more important than the weakness of environmental laws, the Amur tiger population may become extinct.

For more than two years the Phoenix Fund and Wildlife Conservation Society have been running a project aimed at improving efficiency of anti-poaching efforts with the use of Management Information System (MIST) in four protected areas in Primorye. And during these years no tigers were killed there. It seems likely that tigers are mostly killed outside of the protected areas where Hunting Management Department, a state agency of Primorsky krai administration, must provide efficient protection of these endangered cats. Unfortunately, up to date we could not convince local officials in charge of nature conservation that it is necessary to take measures to improve anti-poaching management by that agency. We are ready to assist them with MIST introduction, consult and train rangers to work with this new useful tool, but high ambitions of local officials hinder the process. We hope that these dismal facts about the loss of tigers outside protected areas will make them think over the necessity to take urgent actions.

At the moment, we are collecting signatures on a petition to speed up the process of criminalizing the possession, transportation and trade of rare and endangered species“.

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Sergei Bereznuk
Director
Phoenix Fund
www.phoenix.vl.ru