VLADIVOSTOK, January 15 (RIA Novosti) – Police have found and seized the hide of an Amur tiger on a train in Russia’s Far East, the regional transport police department said on Tuesday.
“According to experts, the hide belonged to a young tiger aged about 18 months. A bullet hole in it clearly shows that the animal was poached,” the department’s press service said in a statement.
The hide of the animal, listed as endangered species on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), was found in a conductor’s compartment on a train from Vladivostok to Khabarovsk.
The conductor said an unknown man had asked him to hand the bag to a recipient in Khabarovsk. Paying to train conductors in order to deliver parcels promptly is a common practice in Russia, despite efforts by railroad management to do away with it.
“It is known to police that the hide was being transported to Moscow, where it was to be turned into a hunting trophy and sold abroad,” the statement reads.
An investigation is underway to find the organizer and perpetrators of the crime.
The population of the Amur tiger, one of six extant tiger subspecies, found only in Russia’s Far East and in some areas of Northern China, currently stands at some 450. Experts estimate that from 30 to 50 Amur tigers are killed by poachers and irresponsible hunters every year. Only four tiger poachers have been convicted since the fall of the Soviet Union.