Nenets police receive polar bear protection award

Nenets police receive polar bear protection award

26 February 2015

In late February, officers from the Economic Security and Anticorruption Department of the Russian Interior Ministry Directorate for the Nenets Autonomous Area confiscated a polar bear skin from poachers in Naryan-Mar. Officers, backed by the Naryan-Mar aviation unit, promptly carried out an investigation in a number of Arctic towns in the district.


At present, the Directorate’s Investigation Department has opened a criminal case under Article 258.1 of the Russian Criminal Code, “Poaching and Trafficking in Valuable Wildlife and Aquatic Biological Resources Listed in the Red Book of Endangered Species.”


“The situation with polar bear poaching in the district is under my personal supervision,” Nenets Autonomous Area Governor Igor Koshin said, commenting on the incident. “It is very important for us not only to ensure socioeconomic growth but also to preserve the region’s  natural wealth, especially species listed in the Red Book. People should understand that the killing of this Arctic predator is a crime that carries severe penalties.”


Ten months ago, in April 2014, participants in the Polar Bear Patrol project run by WWF Russia uncovered two instances of polar bear poaching on Vaigach Island. The poacher, a Vorkuta resident, was identified in the course of the investigation. He will go on trial in Naryan-Mar soon.


“We welcome the contribution by the district authorities and the Interior Ministry Directorate to the protection of polar bears and the fight against poaching. Poachers in Russia last went on trial in Chukotka way back in 2007. Ahead of International Polar Bear Day, which is observed on 27 February, we have decided to confer on the Interior Ministry Directorate for the Nenets Autonomous Area a special diploma in recognition of its successful work,” said Viktor Nikiforov, the head of the Polar Bear Patrol project. 


(Photo © Viktor Nikiforov)