On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted in the State Duma a bill, which introduced criminal responsibility for the catching and sale of rare animals and plants, which are put on the Red Book of endangered species.
Vladimir Putin, who is known for his love to wild animals, decided to protect Amur tigers and leopards not only through his close attention to them, the RBC daily reported. The poachers, who are profiteering illegally on the trafficking of rare animals, will face up to seven years in prison now.
As Chairman of the Russian Geographical Society Vladimir Putin is controlling the programs for the protection of rare animals, the newspaper recalled. The president is participating in the scientific work and personally put the collars with the global navigation satellite system on the wild animals. In 2008 he connected a wild she-tiger to the GLONASS global navigation satellite system in the Ussuriisk national park, a she-white whale nicknamed Dasha next year and put the GLONASS collar on the Polar bear on the Franz Joseph Land in 2010. In the previous year the whole Russia was watching how the president dressed in the special suit with the imitator of the nib flying on the hang glider was leading the whole flock of Siberian white cranes.
Endangered species of flora and fauna will be also protected by means of the Criminal Code. A new criminal article should be introduced for the illegal catching and trafficking of the Red Book plants and animals. The poachers will face up to three years in prison for their catching and sale; the officials, who are involved in similar criminal schemes, will face up to five years in prison and members of the organized criminal groups will face from five to seven years in prison and a fine of up to two million roubles.
According to the statistical reports, from 30 to 50 tigers are killed illegally every year and up to 1,200 rare species of birds, including Sapsan, gerfalcon and saker falcon are caught. Total damages from these crimes are estimated at 265 million roubles.
The ecologists and animal defenders were glad about the news report about a tougher punishment for the hunters on endangered animals. “It is alarming that new bans are imposed, but no one changes the system cardinally. Who will control the observance of new laws? As many as 4,000 workers of the Russian natural resources watchdog are obviously not enough to cover the whole territory of the country,” Director of the Greenpeace programs in Russia Ivan Blokov noted.
The ecologists believe that not only bans should be imposed, but also a careful attitude to the nature should be cultivated among people. “The ecological education is at a very low level now, and it is even not included in new educational standards, the school students should receive the ecological education from the primary school and to the senior grades,” deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on natural resources, nature use and ecology Mikhail Slipenchuk said.
In one criminal article of the Russian Criminal Code the smuggling of these endangered animals is offered to be made equal to the smuggling of poisoning and toxic agents, mass destruction weapons, military hardware and cultural valuables, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported. The Code of Administrative Offences will be amended seriously in this aspect. First, only those, who caught the species, which are not put on the list of particularly precious species, will be brought to administrative responsibility. Secondly, the keeping and trafficking of rare animals, birds or plants will be also considered as an offence, while now this is not punishable. The Russian government supported the presidential initiative. The Russian Supreme Court also supported it. The State Duma deputies will hardly vote against this presidential initiative.