Russia issues rare punishment for tiger poaching

  • November 14, 2012

A poacher that killed a tiger was sentenced to 18 months community service and fined $18,500 in the Russian Far East. This is a rare case where Russia have punished someone for killing a tiger. The poacher, Alexander Belyayev was found guilty of killing one of the remaining 450 Amur tigers left in the wild.

“This is a great verdict as we struggle to save these rare cats,” says the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation CEO, Sally Case.

An estimated 30-50 Amur tigers are killed each year by poachers and local residents. There have been dozens of cases of tiger killings over the last few years; however this is only the second guilty charge.

It isn’t often that poachers are punished as tiger products are usually found in transit or on sale – not in the wild where they were killed. Those found with tiger remains also plead not guilty by stating that they found the tiger dead.

Belyayev (accused in October 2010) did not deny the killing but stated that he acted in self-defence. Investigators found that Belyayev saw a tiger while he was hunting antelope and shot the tiger twice to injure it. He then followed the big cat and shot it three more times. At that point, the tiger charged at Belyayev and injured him. Belyayev then ran for home while the animal bled to death.

Russia is now considering legislation to toughen penalties for killing endangered animals, including the transport and sale of their products.

“We can see that this is a step in the right direction and that the Russian government are putting in place tougher deterrents against tiger poachers” says TigerTime campaign executive Chantelle Henderson. “We need to convict these criminals with strong guidelines and a zero tolerance policy.”

Although this issue is in the hands of the law, YOU can still help save the wild tiger.

TigerTime and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation have been working to save the Amur tiger since the 1990s when numbers plummeted to less than 100. With thanks to this vital work, there are now 450 Amur tigers in the wild.

Please help us continue this vital work by donating here.

You can also help by signing to help put an end to the horrific tiger trade.

Written by: Chantelle M Henderson

Source: LA Times