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Species diversity and use of biological resources
Hunting in the Russian Far East
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Hunting in the RFE is traditional and is often the only livelihood for indigenous peoples.  Hunting is permitted on 95 percent of the territory of the RFE.  More than 300 hunting estates function in the region.  There are approximately 87,500 registered hunters, of which more than 1,000 are commercial hunters.  Game resources in hunting estates are still abundant, but the populations of most game species are decreasing throughout the region. Remote areas have relatively abundant game animals, while in areas close to human settlements, animal populations are depleted.

There are over 200,000 sable in the RFE, of which more than 32,000 were taken in 1997-98.  Brown bears number about 11,000, of which 638 were legally killed that year.  Around 350,000 ungulates inhabit the region, 8,000 of which were hunted officially in 1997-98.  When considering poaching (without permit or over established quota), the actual number was approximately five times greater.  For a recent review of management of fur-bearing animals see the 2005 TRAFFIC publication “Trapping A Living”.

Unfortunately, the existing state system of game estates has crumbled and most entrepreneurs who now lease them privately do not adhere to high standards.  The game industry is no longer profitable and management is unable to keep qualified people to serve as rangers or to invest in restoration of game populations.  In general, hunting and fishing inspectors, charged with enforcing restrictions, have suffered declining morale and lost much of their mobility and enforcement capabilities.  Poaching is widespread due to high levels of unemployment in remote forest villages.

Rural people are not involved in management and distribution of wildlife resources, experience considerable hardships in obtaining various licenses and permits, and consequently return to illegal means of hunting.  According to some experts measures to protect species of high commercial value prove ineffective because they fail to consider the public good.  It is extremely important to redistribute legal authority for control and allocation of natural resources in a way that advantages local communities through local self-government.

Some of the far-reaching impacts of hunting in the RFE are:
-impacts on populations, distribution, and age structure of wild animals;
-over-hunting of many species in certain areas;
-widespread poaching of rare and endangered species;
-disturbance of other flora and fauna by hunters;
-control of wolf populations to keep game numbers high; and
-protection of certain areas and baiting of ungulates, which changes distribution patterns and movements.

Trade in hunting products has a long history in the region.

Map collections:

Species richness

Distribution of charismatic species

Wildlife trade destinations





Korean pine


Wildlife trade


GIS: Charismatic species ranges


Black bear legally killed by hunter. In Russia this species was recently removed from Red Data Book, in China - promoted to strickter protection category. (Photo by V.Rostov)

Also look:

Species richness in Amur-Heilong River Basin

Exploitation of wild fauna and flora in Amur-Heilong River Basin

Mongolian hunting case study

The harvest of biological resources in China

Trade in flora and fauna in Russian Far East


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