SHOTS IN THE NIGHT

Author: V. Peskov

WARDENS MUST CONTEND WITH HEAVILY ARMED POACHERS-AND WITH UNFRIENDLY COURTS

SHOTS IN THE NIGHT. (By Special Correspondent V. Peskov.. Komsomolskaya pravda, April 16. Condensed text:) "They're threatening to kill me ***" - he wrote in his last letter. I was well aware of how real that threat was in the uninhabited Kalmyk steppes. At night, with their headlights on, poachers were killing dozens of saigas - until the back of the truck was full. Game warden Uldis Knakis was hot on the trail of these plunderers. One could almost predict the outcome. ...

The encounter took place on a September night. Having tracked down the poachers, Uldis began to pursue them. A blinding light from the back of the truck illuminated his car. An exchange of fire began. Uldis shot at the truck's tires, but the poachers aimed directly for his heart and hit their mark. ...

The term natural resources includes a number of valuable objects that are very difficult to protect. You can't put a lock on the steppe, where saigas graze, on a forest or on a spawning stream in the taiga. Therefore, the temptation to dip one's hands into nature's storehouse has assumed menacing proportions. Today it's a rare issue of a newspaper that carries no reports about poaching - about armed clashes, about the use of modern equipment to plunder nature, about courts that are lenient toward poachers, about officials' involvement in poaching. ...

In Krasnoyarsk Territory, two men named Sukhov

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and Sidorenko killed nearly 100 muskrats last year. (Multiply all that by the cost of a cap, and you'll get an idea of how much they enriched themselves.) Dipping his paws into the Altai State Nature Reserve, V. Khlebnikov caught 60 sables. Things have reached a point at which poachers have even started shooting wisents. ... In a recent incident, three people (O. Torba, Kh. Chachibaya and ...

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