10 Aug, 2021

On August 1, 2021, Federal Law No. 455 came into force in Russia, which changes the rules for limiting the hunting of rare and endangered animals listed in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation. Hunting them will allegedly be allowed “in exceptional cases”, which, according to animal rights activists, may lead to the extermination of rare representatives of the fauna.

The new document introduces changes to two laws at once: “On hunting and on the preservation of hunting resources and on amending certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation” and “On the animal world”. The amendments eliminate the contradictions in them in terms of the extraction of the Red Data Book animals: their capture and shooting. Now catching and shooting is allowed according to the order established by the law “On the animal world” (earlier, according to the law on hunting, shooting was prohibited).

The law on hunting and on the conservation of hunting resources introduces an article on limiting the extraction of rare and endangered animals. In particular, hunting them is limited on the basis of state monitoring data, which will confirm the decline in the number of one or the other species of wild animals. This monitoring will be carried out by the hunters themselves, and the basis for the restrictions will be a decrease in the population size by 50% within three years.

At the same time, the law does not specify in which specific territory the population of rare animals should be reduced: all over the world, in Russia, on its specific territory or on a specific hunting farm, says Mikhail Kreindlin, Program Manager for Specially Protected Natural Areas of Greenpeace Russia.

“In addition, this information will be collected and provided by the hunters themselves, meaning, those who are interested in hunting these animals, and not in their preservation. Therefore, even if the state receives scientific data on the number of animals, hunters will make sure the monitoring data are exaggerated”, the ecologist said.

All this is presented under the pretext that the proceeds from trophy hunting will go to the preservation of the Red Book animals. This is actually a gimmick. With regard to rare and endangered species, the question is often not even about the preservation of the population, but about the preservation of each single individual. We do not know at what stage the population will become critically small for its conservation.

Ecologists believe that if the state has taken upon itself the responsibility and determined that the Red Book is the last call to preserve the population, if there is a risk of extinction of the animal, then it can no longer allow selected hunters to hunt rare species in exceptional cases. And with such changes in the hunting law, the state basically declines the responsibility for the preservation of the population and gives it to the hunters. 

In addition, now the law describes in detail the procedure for listing rare animal species in the Red Book (or excluding them from it). Now they will be included in the list based on the data of state monitoring and scientific estimates of the number of these animals within 180 days after receiving a proposal to include or exclude this or that species from the Red Book.

According to Mikhail Kreindlin, such rare animals as bighorn sheep, bezoar goat, Siberian ibex, Altai mountain sheep, as well as predatory animals – tigers and snow leopards, may be under the threat of extinction.

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