On March 10, 2004 wildlife managers of Primorsky Hunting Management Department, in cooperation with two representatives of NGOs, confiscated two Amur tiger skins from a policeman in Chuguevsky district, central Primorye, Russian Far East.
On March 10, 2004 two tiger skins were confiscated from Andrei Rekunov, police officer of Chuguevsky district of Primorye, as a result of joint operation of public investigation teams and Primorsky Hunting Management Department.
One of the wildlife managers, together with a public ranger, posed as buyers and arranged a meeting with a seller. The others made an ambush around the place of meeting. The ‘deal’ was arranged in the car of the skins’ owner. When the ‘buyers’ received the skins, the wildlife managers and public rangers blocked up the car of illegal trader. First, Andrei Rekunov, the police officer, locked on the inside and did not get out of his car, and denied that the skins belonged to him. Fortunately, the public rangers noticed a car approaching to them, in which there was Vasily Tabolov, a police colonel. Thanks to his assistance more police officers were sent to arrest the offender. Two hours later, the arrested policeman resigned his position. The confiscated skins were forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Office of Chuguevsky district. Now, the case is under investigation.
Sergei Bereznuk, director of the Phoenix Fund says: “It is not the first case when police officers are involved in illegal trade in derivatives of rare and endangered species. Many people remember the case that happened in April 2000, when Vladimir Korolev, a police major of Ussuriisk city, engaged in one of the biggest wildlife smuggling networks, was arrested for illegal trade in two Amur tiger skins. As the result, the police major was fired. Thanks to joined effort of the Phoenix Fund, WildAid-USA and Inspection Tiger that operation was a success.
The anti-poaching activities of the public environmental investigation teams and wildlife managers of Primorsky Hunting Management Department are being supported by 21st Century Tiger, Save the Tiger Fund and the Phoenix Fund.