Poached bear paws and Siberian Tiger body parts seized in Russia

VLADIVOSTOK, January 30. /TASS/. Operatives from a customs department in Russia’s Far-Eastern Primorsky [Maritime] territory have detained three cars loaded with contraband commodities including weaponry, munitions, amber and a tonne of bears’ paws (about 870 paws), as well as body part of at least four Siberian tigers, which are entered in the Book of Rare and Endangered Species, the press service of the Amursky Tigr [Siberian Tiger] center said on Monday. Also collected was “the ‘grease’ and reproductive systems of frogs.” The malefactors were detained near the township of Platono-Alexandrovsky of the Khanka district.

“The stopped two minivans and an off-roader with a car trailer, with the citizens of Russia and China acting as drivers,” the report said.

“This beyond any doubt is a success,” the Director General of the Amursky Tigr Center, Sergei Aramilev said. “The largest channel of smuggling of animals’ bodily parts across the border that was registered ever here has been blocked.”

Aramilev said the consignment of animals’ parts had been gathered over several years. While two of the four tigers, the parts of which were tracked down by the customs operatives, died more than three years ago, another two animals were killed quite recently.

Bear paws are considered a delicacy in some Asian countries and are also used in Chinese medicine or simply as decorative objects. Bear Paw Soup is quite expensive and often only eaten by elites. The tiger parts were most likely also to be sold for the production of traditional Chinese medicine.