Sniffer dogs, with their remarkable sense of smell, are playing an increasingly important role in intercepting illegal wildlife parts and products.
An Alsatian called Navigator recently located organic substances during a customs inspection in Russia. The substances at the Blagoveschensk checkpoint turned out to be tiger derivatives. The illegal tiger products were found in a plastic bag weighing 1.2kg behind the driver’s seat of a truck on its way to China.
“This seizure once again proves the importance of the Sniffer Dog Service“ - Pavel Fomenko, Biodiversity Conservation Program Coordinator - WWF Russia, Amur Region
At first, it was difficult to identify the tiger products, with the customs officer describing the contents of the bag looking like dog food at first glance. It was Navigator’s unrest that alerted the customs officer that this was not the case.
A sample from the bag was analysed to confirm the presence of tiger tissue and two bone fragments were confirmed as jaw bone fragments of a tiger cub.
A criminal case has been initiated and extensive investigations are underway. If the culprit is sentenced, he could face between 3 and 7 years in prison whilst also being fined up to one million rubles.