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MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. A murderer of a polar bear on the Wrangel Island in the Arctic zone of Russia may face up to seven years in jail, the Russian Natural Resources and Ecology Minister spokesman, Nikolay Gudkov, told TASS on Wednesday.
"Such crimes envisage up to seven years imprisonment," Gudkov said. "From our side we will do our utmost to investigate the case as soon as possible to punish those guilty of it."
The ministry learned about the crime from a video record. "We were shocked and outraged with it, such actions go in no compliance with the common sense," Gudkov said.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Russian Natural Resources and Ecology Ministry received the video record of a cruel murder of a polar bear, one of the species under the threat of extinction, with the firecracker.
Natural Resources and Ecology Minister Sergey Donskoy made a request to the Russian Prosecutor General Office in order to initiate the investigation of the animal killing.
The polar bear is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Russian polar bear population is estimated at 5,000-7,000 animals living along Russia's Arctic coast.
The Moscow State Circus head, a descendant of a famous Russian family of circus performers Edgard Zapashny on Wednesday urged police to investigate the murder of a polar bear, fed with the firecracker on the Wrangel Island in the Arctic zone of Russia.
"The incident must not remain without attention," Zapashny said. "The police must thoroughly investigate whether the animal was killed for entertainment or in order to defend oneself."
"I hope the offenders will face strict punishment," he said.
"I would like to recall that killing a panda in China is punished with death penalty," Zapashny said. "The measure was adopted in order to prevent the Chinese nationals from even thinking of killing a panda, which is their national emblem."
"Polar bears, Far Eastern leopards and Amur tigers are Russian national emblems, so we must protect them," he said. "Maybe later the State Duma should introduce a bill on toughening punishment for killing the animal under the threat of extinction."
"Average market price for a polar bear varies from $500,000 to $750,000," Zapashny said. "Polar bear is on the brink of extinction and lots of international pacts and organisations protect them. But we should not forget that a polar bear is one of the biggest predators in the world and may threaten one’s life."