MOSCOW, Nov. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A rare Amur (Siberian) tiger was killed yesterday by poachers near Vladivostok, Russia. The tiger was discovered by an IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) anti-poaching patrol in the Khasan district of Primorye Province. This area of the Russian Far East, along the border with China, is home to the last 300 to 400 wild Amur tigers.
The Khasan rangers arrested four suspected poachers, who were intercepted with the dead tiger, described as a healthy, five-year-old male. One of the hunters was wounded by the tiger and is hospitalized; the other three were turned over to police for interrogation. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of USD $20,000.
"This crime is a wake up call," said Masha Vorontsova, Director, IFAW Russia. "We can't save the tigers unless we combat rampant poaching, which is the single greatest threat to the survival of this species."
Governments of the 13 tiger range countries will convene next week in St. Petersburg, Russia to agree on a coordinated, global plan to save tigers from extinction. With the ambitious goal of doubling the number of wild tigers in the next 12 years, the strategy will focus on national plans and shared commitments to better conserve key tiger habitats and eradicate poaching, which is fueled by trade in tiger body parts and products.
"The summit is a last chance for tigers," said Vorontsova. "We must make sure that talk translates into concrete action and effective, binding agreements that save tigers on the ground."
The scope of the black market trade in tigers was highlighted last month when 25 suspected traffickers in tiger body parts were arrested in raids across six tiger range countries as part of a two-month operation coordinated by INTERPOL. More than 110 lb (50 Kg) of tiger bone, including skeletons and skulls, were seized.
IFAW works on the front lines of tiger protection to end all trade in tiger body parts and products, reduce consumer demand, provide anti-poaching training and capacity-building, and secure key tiger habitat.
Founded in 1969, IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare) saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. www.ifaw.org
SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare