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‘Tigers and People’ documentary premieres in Moscow

August 30, 2:34 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The documentary highlights the preservation of the Amur tiger and struggle with poaching

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© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MOSCOW, August 30. /TASS/. ‘Tigers and People’, a documentary produced by Sergei Yastrzhembsky, premiered on Tuesday in Moscow. It highlights the preservation of the Amur tiger and struggle with poaching.

"The documentary was produced at a request from the Amur Tiger Center," Yastrzhembsky told TASS. "In the first place, this is an educational project aimed at the Russian audiences."

"We’d like to bring to limelight the problem of trading in the parts of tigers’ bodies," he said. "This is a pressing problem for China because here in Russia you don’t come across either the consumption of tiger meat or any other such uses of animal products."

Yastrzhembsky voiced the hope foreign audience would not the film, too, since the problem of preserving the tiger populations can be resolved only through coordinated efforts in different corners of the world.

In this connection, the producer indicated the film was partly shot in the countries of Southeast Asia where tigers are bred to be sold to China. The filming crew had to work clandestinely there by using candid cameras - the factor that highly complicated their work.

Konstantin Chuichenko, the chairman of the Amur Tiger Center’s board of supervisors and the stars of the Russian circus, tiger tamers Edgard and Askold Zapashny attended the premiere. The Zapashny brothers took the tiger Rikki along with them to the presentation.

Chuichenko said the number of Amur tigers had reached 580 and the main credit for the preservation of these majestic cats went to forest rangers managing the taiga in the Ussuri river area, the main habitat of the tigers.

Sergei Aramilev, the director of the Far-Eastern affiliation of the Amur Tiger Center who took part in the filming told reporters about the specific traits of poaching for rare animals.

"It’s understandable that crime doesn’t have nationality and the groupings that engage in the poaching of Amur tigers are multiethnic," he said. "The citizens of Russia and China misuse the superstitions existing among the Chinese people who use products from tiger body parts for treating various diseases."

To take the parts of animal bodies abroad, the poachers use the same channels as the smugglers of drugs and weaponry, Aramilev said. This makes the struggle with illegal hunting more difficult but Russia’s state agencies have largely improved the situation thanks to the introduction of criminal responsibility for the killing of animals and transportation of their body parts.

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