Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Russians destroy their nature for Chinese medicine

According to the Red Book of the Russian Federation, the country has seen a sharp reduction in the number of rare animals. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is rampant poaching and smuggling to China. After all, the demand on bears, tigers, musk deer, marten is high in the People's Republic of China. Dead animals are transported to China in batches, while many tiger and bear cubs are left orphaned in the wild.

Indeed, the number of crimes related to the poaching of rare and endangered species of plants and animals, as well as the transportation of derivatives across the border for further processing has increased significantly. In order to stop the rapid poaching in the spring of this year, the Russian government seriously increased penalties for breaking the rules of protection of habitats and migration routes of rare species. The law provides for fines in the amount of 2-5 thousand rubles ($100-200, previously 300-500 rubles) to individuals, 5-10 thousand ($300-400, previously 500-1,000 rubles) to officials, and 10-15 thousand rubles ($400-500, previously 5-10 thousand rubles) to legal entities. Under the new legislation, an individual can be fined up to 2-5 thousand rubles for violating hunting regulations (previously the fine was 1-2 thousand rubles). The fine makes up 20-30 thousand rubles ($1,000, previously 10-15 thousand rubles) for official personas. Violating fishing regulations may result in fines from 5,000 rubles for individuals, 20-30 thousand rubles for officials and 100-200 thousand - for legal entities. It is worth mentioning that in October last year, the Russian government allowed employees of the Federal Fisheries Agency to use firearms and tear gas during arrests.

It should be noted that to date, several species of animals are seriously threatened in our country. First of all, it goes about the Amur tiger. Today, the poaching of these animals has reached a truly catastrophic scale. According to official statistics, a record number of killed animals has been confiscated in the Far East of Russia over the past 12 months - thirty three dead tigers. Environmental groups of the Far East point out the unprecedented growth of confiscation of derivatives of Amur tigers, not to mention the detection of orphaned cubs. There is a real threat for this beautiful animal to become extinct. Maria Vorontsova, the head of the department of the fund in Russia, believes that the current population of the Amur tiger will not survive the losses inflicted by poachers.

Brown bears in the Krasnoyarsk and Primorsky regions are being exterminated widely as well. This summer, it was reported about the detention of two Russian citizens in Manchuria, who were trying to cross the border transporting 213 bear paws. The two men raised suspicion with customs officers during a routine check. During a more detailed examination of the suspects vehicle, customs officers found bear paws, hidden in old car tires. It became the largest number of bear paws that poachers have ever attempted to smuggle to China. The found paws weighed from 200 grams to 2 kilos. The smallest belonged to bear cubs. According to rough estimates, the criminals had killed at least 54 brown bears. Typically, the peak of activity of poachers falls for the cold season, as heat makes it difficult to transport animals' paws fresh. The hunt for the paws of brown bears can be easily explained. In China, one kilogram of bear paws can be sold for 5,000 yuans or 25,000 Russian rubles ($800).

In addition to the Ussuri tigers and brown bears, the bighorn sheep (Yakut subspecies) is at the risk of extinction as well. On the Chukotka Peninsula, the density of their population has declined 50 times over the last 15 years. Up to 40 percent of adult males of the Altai mountain sheep (argali) die from poachers as well. The criminal hunting has affected the population of the bezoar goat (the North Caucasus), and the Amur goral. Extinction threatens the black-tailed gazelle and the Sakhalin musk deer. The population of the beautiful snow leopard continues to decline because of man too. In Russia, there are only 80-150 snow leopards left.

Most of the above-mentioned animals get killed for the sake of valuable and sometimes unique fur. Thus, English biologist Linda Curley from the Zoological Society of London, says that the stripes on the body of every Siberian tiger are unique among other individuals. In turn, the musk deer has valuable dense warm fur. Each hair of the fur of the musk deer has sections filled with air. These air "bubbles" create solid insulation.

In addition, the musk deer has a purse located on the abdomen between the navel and genitals, which accumulates musk. This substance has been precious since ancient times. French perfumers used musk to secure odor of their fragrances. Chinese healers would make miraculous drugs based on the musk of the musk deer.

Traditional medicine has not lost its popularity to this day. In China, the musk deer is still used in medicine. It is easy to imagine what a tremendous amount of musk Chinese medicine needs.

The paws of brown bears are just as popular in China. Despite the fact that the Chinese Service for the Protection of Animals, Animals Asia Foundation, has long been sounding the alarm, the demand for bear paws grows in the country every year. The Chinese believe in their "miraculous" effect. Bear paws are used both in pharmaceuticals, and in cooking.

To crown it all, the Chinese believe that the bear gall bladder is a good cure for cancer and liver diseases. The meat of the animal supposedly has a tonic effect on the human body. None of the above has any scientific substantiation.

Thus, 256 animal species of the Red Book of Russia are on the brink of extinction. The populations of rare and wonderful animals are declining rapidly. The good news is that the law supports the protection of animals, which means that brown bears and Siberian tigers have a chance to survive.

Julia Chmelenko


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