Meat and antlers were discovered on trucks. The find weighs several tons. Poachers face several years imprisonment.
According to environmentalists, poachers have shot more than 1000 reindeer in Siberia. The meat and antlers of the animals had been discovered in several trucks in the Russian Republic of Yakutia in northeastern Russia, said the organization WWF. The find, which was largely packed in sacks, weighs several tons.
The polar storks were probably killed on the Taimyr Peninsula in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Environmentalists had stopped the transport together with the local authorities a week ago, it said.
The hunt for tundra reindeer has existed for millennia, said WWF expert responsible for the Russian Arctic Eva Klebelsberg. “But for some years we have noticed a massive increase in poaching.” Such population could disappear in connection with climate change, she warned. According to the local authorities, there are currently about 400,000 reindeer. The number has fallen significantly in recent years.
“The convoy probably represents only the tip of the iceberg. The animals are shot while swimming through the rivers or the antlers are simply sawed off,” says Klebelsberg. The antlers were processed into powder and sold especially to China as a supposed cure. “Tongues and meat are in demand as a delicacy.”
Meanwhile, the authorities in the Russian region have issued a decree criminalizing of the sawing of the antlers of living animals. That was one of the biggest problems. The ban applies for the next five years. Poachers face several years of imprisonment.