November 16th, 2010
03:35 PM ET

Hunters nabbed with slain, endangered Siberian tiger

Amur tigers, like this one at the Kiev Zoo in Ukraine, are endangered in the wild.

A rare Amur tiger – one of 300 to 400 estimated to remain in the wild - was killed by poachers near Vladivostok, Russia, an animal rescue group said Tuesday.

The Siberian tiger was found by an International Fund for Animal Welfare anti-poaching patrol in Primorye Province, according to an IFAW news release.

The group says the area (which includes parts of China and North Korea) is home to the last of the wild Amur tigers, which was on the brink of extinction in the 1940s with only 40 remaining worldwide before a vigorous conservation effort.

Four suspected poachers caught with the dead, 5-year-old male tiger were arrested by rangers from the Khasan district of the province, IFAW said. One of the hunters had been injured by the big cat and required hospitalization.

If convicted, the hunters face a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $20,000 fine, IFAW said.

"We can't save the tigers unless we combat rampant poaching, which is the single greatest threat to the survival of this species," the group’s director, Masha Vorontsova, said.

Governments of the 13 so-called tiger range countries will meet in St. Petersburg, Russia, next week to come up with a plan to save tigers from extinction. Through the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit, which begins Sunday, the governments hope to double the wild tiger population in the next dozen years.

The blackmarket for tiger products was highlighted last month when 25 suspected traffickers in tiger body parts were arrested in a six-country INTERPOL sting. More than 110 pounds of tiger bone – including the animals’  skulls and skeletons – were confiscated.

Chinese tiger-breeding centers have proposed creating tiger farms to cull the animals' body parts, thereby diminishing demand for the products and lessening the chances they might be hunted in the wild. The idea has met with resistance from environmental groups.

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Filed under: Animals • China • Crime • Environment • North Korea • Russia
soundoff (351 Responses)
  1. Monty Miller

    Don't blame the Chinese, the Russians or anyone in particular—IDIOTS and CRIMINALS are responsible for this poaching. Obviously, $20,000 and 3 years in prison is absurd and the punishment must be much more severe or the problem will continue until these magnificent animals will be gone forever.

    November 17, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Cathy

      The Voice of Reason. Thank you.

      November 17, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Yoda

      Exactly. It's not an issue of which nation is worse than which other. Bickering over that just divides people. Nationalities are irrelevant to animals and they should be irrelevant to the people who want to save them from extinction...it's a much bigger issue than lines on a map.

      November 17, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DK

    What would happen if tigers became extinct in the wild? Would anyone be out anything or are governments just wasting millions of dollars protecting something that doesn't need protected? Or even crazier yet what if poaching remained illegal but farming these species was legal, despite killing 50 million a year we still have plenty of cows, no farmer would want to cut off their supply.

    November 17, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Nimrod

      The world would be diminished.

      November 17, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      Farming is already legal, and poaching is already illegal. The problem is that a poacher has fewer expenses than a farmer, so often a poached animal is cheaper than a farmed one. Tigers eat quite a bit of meat, and meat is expensive. Second, tigers are territorial, and require quite a bit of space. Finally, farming tigers is somewhat dangerous. It only takes one getting loose to cause quite a bit of trouble.

      Part of the remedy must be to increase the fine. As noted elsewhere, the fine only amounts to about 10% of the projected sale price. The fine should be higher than the projected sale price, perhaps 10-100 times higher. As it stands now, a poacher can get caught every other time, and still make more than the average person. This includes the maximum fine, and maximum possible time spent in jail earning nothing. Indeed, in Siberia the median income is under $5000, so even split five ways, and caught every other hunt, a poacher would still make more than the median income. If you only get caught once every 10 hunts, then you would be fabulously wealthy by local standards. Apparently, crime does pay in this case.

      November 17, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. bozzy

    We need to convince the Chinese that eating a pound of ground up mosquitoes per day is a great aphrodisiac, but that eating tiger or rhino parts will make you impotent.

    November 17, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. benl

    If we can't save an animal as iconic as the Tiger from human-inflicted extinction, it is doubtful we will be able to save the countless other less recognized species from a similar fate. Our ability to restore and protect (or lack of) the Tiger is a good measuring stick and predictor of our ability to maintain this planet's health in the future.

    November 17, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jason Ferguson

    Bad idea.

    November 17, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. Ken

    All for idiotic Asian demand for bs aphrodisiacs and totally ineffective voodoo medicine. What a shame.

    November 17, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tamars

    I HOPE THAT FINE IS $20,000 EACH PERSON, EACH OFFENSE! (trespassing in a game preserve, killing endangered species, etc.)

    November 17, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. RUSH

    Beautiful animal – make the poachers sorry they laid eyes on the majestic beast. It obviously wasnt about food or they wouldnt have gone after a tiger.
    Just make them sorry....forever

    November 17, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  9. Suz

    Easy E said it best, I think... really nothing more to add to it. The whole thing is pretty disgusting.

    November 17, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. MD

    "Chinese tiger-breeding centers have proposed creating tiger farms to cull the animals' body parts, thereby diminishing demand for the products and lessening the chances they might be hunted in the wild. "

    Oh Chinese, the entrepreneual spirit never dies...

    November 17, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. Keith C Kusem

    Penalty assesed is not enough.. He/She/They should be HUNTED.. and SHOT-DOWN (exactly same way) and SERVED AS LUNCH TO TIGERS.
    And, I'M PRO to keep tigers within captivated/designated/bordered boundaries (at least for a generation) to make sure;
    a).for protection from these kind of cults/monsters, b).guarateed/healthy breed and preparation to educate man-kind to be more involved with "life on earth".
    Russia (Siberia), Mongolia, China has millions of km2 of unused lands to spare for the future of "life on earth".

    November 17, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. Peter

    This is sickening what is the reason for killing a beautiful animal such as this these poachers are with out dobt vodka drinkers who were probably under the influence at the time or else the nerve needed to kill such a powerful animal would the one who is hospitalised should suffer a great deal for what he did its called KARMA and i believe that these people will pay eventually It wont be long before man may become extinct due to our greed and selfish ways what a disgrace man has brought upon such lovely beautiful tigers and for what money this is terrible and they should bow there heads in shame

    November 17, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. maria

    I pray for the animals they are more trusting than humans.....

    November 17, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. reginaldwigginbush

    @tuffyturf – I hope what you are proposing is only a sick joke. PICWOUND? What a heinous, barbarous concept. If that's the best you can come up with then you are pretty sad and unimaginative. The rest of the world could easily decide the same thing about western countries based on their disproportionately gluttonous consumption of the world's resources. Those who live by the sword shall die by it as well.

    November 17, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. HPNIII

    Let's go $50,000 and 10 years

    November 17, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
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