Stop WCS from killing tigers by Aldrich foot snare

Of 70 Amur tigers Panthera tigris altaica Temminck,1844, caught and collared for radio-tracking by Wildlife Conservation Society (WSC) in Sikhote-Alin Mountains from 1992 to 2008, 50 of the cats (71%) subsequently died. They were mostly killed by poachers. The rate of poaching of a total sample of discovered dead tigers, not caught and collared for radio-tracking in Sikhote-Alin from 1976 to 2001 was half the rate of the WCS radio tracked animals or 34% (N=18; data of Evgeniy Smirnov from Goodrich et al., 2005). In Trans-Baikal and Amur region from 1951 to 2005 the poaching rate was only 15% (N=12: Baranov, Kashkarov, 2008; Kashkarov et al., 2008a). The question is: why the safety method of tiger capture by Aldrich foot snare (Goodrich & Miquell, 2005) provides such a high rate of mortality from poaching. Discovery of a male tiger killed in 2006, soon after he was caught by WCS, demonstrated severely broken teeth and highly traumatized front foot by the Aldrich snare they used (see photo above). The high level of poaching of Amur tigers is related to the technique of capture and the Aldrich snare construc­tion itself. When tigers try to free themselves from the snares, they traumatize the paws, and break teeth and maxillaries. The cause of broken teeth, bone and claws is the steel construction of the snare including two solid cable clamps and thick angle iron on the 6 millimeter metal wire rope (Figure 1). Tigers bite it and destroy their canine and incisor teeth. After such injury, they cannot normally hunt their natural prey. Snare injured cats can be driven by hunger to prey on livestock. The most cited cause of tiger shooting is for protection of livestock by herdsmen and illegal hunt on the road tiger usually use. Mass traumatizing of teeth, claws and feet is well known for the Snow leopards captured for the Zoos by traps and snares, analogous to Aldrich foot snare capture injuries of tigers (Koshkarev, 1985). In these cases more than 10% of trapped Snow leopards died by the 2nd or 3rd day after capture. An especially high percentage of death was observed for the Snow leopards caught by snare. The causes of death also directly related to the stress and technique of capture. 

Dear mister Putin, it seems you take a great care about wildlife conservation and partucalarly about protecting and saving Amur tigers from extinction. I hope, you find it very cruel and barbarian practice - to catch animals with such traumatic means as Aldrich foot snare. 70 % percents of tigers caught by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) with Aldrich foot snare died because all tigers were heavily injured during this operations and unable to live normal life in wilderness. I believe that it is our and our country (if we want to be civilized country) primary goal - to stop such a barbaric actions, furtermore there are non-traumatic ways for studying tigers and leopards. Here is detailed information about problem: http://www.animals.hbh.ru/tigers5.htm#.UP5nGh1WzTq

Best regards, Dmitry Maksimov 

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