On December 15, 2002, Khabarovsky team of Inspection Tiger received information from the head of Matai hunting lease that a tiger had been poached near Dolmi village, Khabarovsky region. The team went to check on the information and found tiger tracks (6 cm pad width) 40 meters from the 8-km district road Dolmi – Solontsovy. There was a tiger bed with blood and hair. Human footprints were leading to the tiger bed where the tiger tracks disappeared. In 60 meters from the spot the team revealed two used shell cases/cartridges of 7,62 mm caliber on the road. The account of the case together with the blood sample, hair, and cartridges was forwarded to Lazovsky police department for further investigation.
During further examination the team had to capture two tiger cubs 15 km far from Dolmi village near river Khima-II. They were about 5-6 months old (5 cm pad width) and weighed about 20-25 kg each. The cubs were emaciated, had matted hair, and were moving slowly. That the cubs that were captured were in such poor condition suggests they lost their mother long before 15 December.
To prevent the cubs’ death, it was decided to capture them and give them to Utes rehabilitation center where they would be well cared for and hopefully, later released back into the wild. Unfortunately, one of the cubs died on the way to the Center.
Struggle for tigers never stops. The insatiable demand for tiger parts in China appears to be the main driving force behind poaching and traffic. Environmental law enforcement agencies have been working hard to reduce poaching and eliminate illegal trade of endangered species. In 2002 alone, the Khabarovsky Inspection Tiger team confiscated three tiger skins. About seven tiger skins, one tiger skeleton, five incomplete sets of tiger bones were confiscated by environmental law enforcement agencies in 2002.