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HOW POACHING IS 'KILLING OFF' the world's largest reindeer herd on Taimyr Peninsula

The Siberian Times reporter

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Pictures prove the gruesome fate of reindeer 'to meet demands for traditional medicines in China and South Korea'.

Calls for far tighter controls on reindeer hunting - and poaching - are growing. Picture: Alexander Krivoshapkin


A small motorboat stalks a herd of reindeer as they cross the Khatanga River in the far north of Siberia. In a barbaric act, poachers use axes and cleavers to cut the antlers from the helpless animals as they swim in the cold Arctic waters. 

Often, the frontal bone of the animal is yanked off too, and the highly productive male creatures die in or close to the river. Evidence of this cruelty litters the river here in the north of Krasnoyarsk region.

Deeply disturbing pictures here show how the crossing of the Khatanga and its tributaries is used by poachers to shoot reindeer. Raids by the employees of the Taimyr Nature Reserve in summer reveal the corpses of the deer dumped along the river. 

Many were shot in the head from boats while they were crossing the rivers, on a seasonal migration from Evenkia to the Taimyr peninsula. 

Another tactic used by poachers on snowmobiles is to chase the reindeer some 10 kilometres towards the river. Pregnant females carrying 3 or 4 kilogram embryos often suffer miscarriages. Veterinarians have highlighted 'mass abortion'.