MOSCOW, RUSSIA - A senior Russian policeman has been sacked after his officers were accused of illegal hunting in a wildlife reserve designed to help save the rare Siberian tiger, the interior ministry said Tuesday.
Alexander Gerlikhman, head of transport police in the port city of Nakhodka in Russia's far east, was sacked in connection with the poaching incident at Zov Tigra (Roar of the Tiger) preserve, the ministry said in a statement.
The incident occurred in late September after a group of Nakhodka transport police were caught with hunting gear and a dead animal by wildlife inspectors on the territory of the preserve.
The inspectors stopped the police officers' car when they looked inside the vehicle and saw ammunition, a rifle and "a large bag from which the paw of an animal, believed to be a bear, was sticking out", the statement said.
However the police officers refused to let the car be searched and fled the scene, it said.
The Zov Tigra preserve, which takes up more than 80,000 hectares (197,700 acres) in the Primorye region of Russia, was established in 2007 to help protect wildlife including the endangered Siberian (or Amur) tiger.