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'The power of the taiga... perhaps only migratory birds know where it ends'

Russia hints at including Himalayan bear in Red Book

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31 July 2015


'What we saw proved that we live side by side with beautiful and very artistic animals'. Picture: Yuriy Smityuk

Recently Himalayan bears in the Russian Far East were exterminated by poachers seeking to supply a Chinese market where the animal's paws are very expensive used for cooking gourmet meals and in oriental medicine. Every year dozens of bears are killed in Russia to be sold to China, it is estimated.

Communist deputies Valery Rashkin and Sergei Obukhov appealed to animal-loving President Vladimir Putin to take personal control of the salvation of the population of Himalayan bear in Russia.

They called for Himalayan bears to the protected list, and the Ministry of Natural Resources has supported the initiative. Minister Sergey Donskoy said: 'In China, bear paws are used for cooking gourmet meals and in oriental medicine. Because of this, every year in the Far East, dozens of bears become the victims of poachers. 

'Moreover, illegal hunting is committed in winter, when the animals are hinernating and most vulnerable. Poachers, trying to get the animal sleeping in a hollow tree and cut the tree. The cubs become orphans and often perish without mother.' 

Himalayan bears

Himalayan bears

'Moreover, illegal hunting is committed in winter, when the animals are hinernating and most vulnerable. Poachers, trying to get the animal sleeping in a hollow tree and cut the tree. Picture: Valery Maleyev, Moscow BIM

He promised last week: 'During the forthcoming session of the Commission on Rare and Endangered Animals, Plants and Fungi, experts of the Ministry of Natural Resources will to provide objective data on the state of the population, and we will take the final decision on the matter.'

Large hunting organisations from the Far East are against the including of Himalayan bears to the endangered list.

The Himalayan bear inhabits Primorsky Region, southern districts of Khabarovsk Territory, and parts of the Jewish Autonomous Region and Amur Region. 

In 1983 the Himalayan black bear has been listed in the Red Book of the RSFR (Russian Soviet Federal Republic). The reason was the large-scale exploitation of cedar-broadleaf forests which resulted in a reduction of habitat and the number of bears. However, in 1997, Russia excluded the Himalayan black bear from its Red Book. 

Still, it is included in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a vulnerable species, and listed in Annex I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as endangered species.  

Orphan bear cubs

Orphan bear cubs

Orphan bear cubs

The result of illegal winter hunt are dozens orphaned bear cubs coming to people.  Picture: Aleksandr Khitrov, Kristina Oleynik

Meanwhile, in Yakutia brown bears are being shot. Because of the high numbers of the creature,  the districts of  Momsky, Kobyayskiy, Neryungri districts this year were authorised to cull the predators.

Bears have been attacking herds of reindeer and horses - especially calves and foals - and dumps near settlements and temporary camps. Experienced hunters were authorised to find and shoot bears dangerous to people and cattle.

'The situation with brown bears is constantly monitored and the necessary measures to regulate the number of brown bears that threaten people's lives and livestock farm animals, will be continued,' said the Department of Hunting of Sakha (Yakutia). 

Recently, 28 permits to kill browns bears were issued. Fifteen are already shot, including two bears which baited a cow in Batamay village, and the dog in the yard of a private home in Segen-Kyuel village. 

Comments (1)

YES, thank you to protect Himalayan bears, with his beautiful white necklace !
Jocelyne, FRANCE
08/08/2015 16:49

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