In two restaurants in Moscow, the police in the capital discovered and seized two raw skins, heads and 50 kg of meat from Red Book animals, presumably an Amur tiger and a Amur leopard.
According to the press service of the Moscow police, operational search activities were conducted by the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department with the support of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in Moscow in non-residential premises of restaurants located on the territory of the Sadovod market 14 km from Moscow Ring Road. The specified finds fall under Art. 258.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Illegal extraction and trafficking of especially valuable wild animals listed in the Red Book and protected by international treaties of the Russian Federation”.
The Amur tiger and the Amur leopard are listed in the Red Book and hunting for them is completely prohibited. Large predators became rare primarily due to habitat destruction and illegal hunting. Most often, the tiger is a victim of poachers due to the fact that its bones and other parts of the body are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine. However, in many Asian countries, large predator meat is used to prepare exotic dishes.
“Unfortunately, our Asian neighbors, for example, in Vietnam, have strong traditions of eating meat from rare wild animals, including the Amur tiger,” comments Sergey Aramilev director of the Primorsky branch of the Amur Tiger Center - Basically, the use of parts of the body of a tiger and a leopard is more, according to their beliefs, "medicine" than "food". But science has not yet found confirmation of the presence of any valuable and useful substances in parts of the body of rare large cats, so the use of such meat for the preparation of exquisite dishes is rather a tribute to tradition and a kind of "praise" for the others than real taste and improvement health In China and Vietnam, such dishes are served in closed restaurants only for "their own", that is, those who are able to pay decent money and will not widely advertise their addictions. The main suppliers of tiger meat to such restaurants are local, so-called tiger "farms", better known all over the world as "safari parks”.
It is worth noting that in Russia systematic work is being done to identify and prevent cases of poaching not only in the south of the Far East, where the Amur tiger lives, but also throughout the country. Since July 2013, the relevant amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation came into force, providing for liability in the form of imprisonment for up to 7 years for illegal extraction, maintenance, acquisition, storage, transportation, sale of particularly valuable wild animals, as well as their parts and derivatives .
In this case, further investigative measures are being taken to find those involved in the commission of the crime. According to the opinion of the specialists of the Amur Tiger Center, there is a possibility that the seized parts of the body of large cats belong to animals not from the wild, but kept in captivity.