Fighting illegal polar bear hunting

Fighting illegal polar bear hunting

19 February 2014

In early February, the Ministry of Interior’s Economic Security and Anticorruption Directorate for the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) received a tip that a 44-year-old resident of Yakutsk is hiding polar bear skins at home. A FSB search confirmed that the tip was true.


The police searched the suspect’s private home and found three polar bear skins with bullet holes. The polar bear is a Russian Red Book species.


“The police confiscation of three polar bear skins at once shows that illegal polar bear hunting continues,” Viktor Nikiforov, the head of the WWF Polar Bear Patrol project, said.


On October 31, 2013, the Government approved a list of especially valuable wild animals and aquatic bioresources entered in the Red Book of the Russian Federation for the purposes of articles 226.1 and 258.1 of the Criminal Code. Polar bears are on the list.


Under the Criminal Code, the illegal hunting, keeping, purchase, storage, transportation, conveyance or sale of polar bear skins is punishable by 480 hours of compulsory community work or two years of corrective work. If committed by an organised group, the same offence carries five to seven years imprisonment.