Chinese frog-hunters said to poison Russian rivers
Posted 26 March 2003 - 09:27 PM
By Anatoly Medetsky
A Chinese poacher pours herbicides into a river
Empty bottles found on the scene with labels saying "herbicides" in Chinese
A Russian border guard escorts the Chinese poachers
Poachers being questioned
The above photos are taken from the footage that border guards filmed from their ambush late last year
From countless frogs to endangered leopards, wildlife in the Russian Far East has fallen prey to the proximity of China, whose population believes in the healing powers and culinary delicacies of certain wild plants and animals.
But scores of poachers crossing over from China to sweep Russian forests, rivers and sea bays have also begun to pose a health threat for local residents, ecologists say.
In one of the most recent developments poachers have taken to poisoning rivers on the Russian side of the border, which gives them quick and easy access to numerous dead frogs, says Pavel Fomenko, a biodiversity programs coordinator for the international environmental group WWF.
Contaminated water then drifts downstream endangering anyone who would drink from the river. According to Fomenko, two forest rangers reported recently that they passed blood in their stools after they used such water to make tea.
"Local residents are afraid of drinking water from the rivers," says Fomenko.
Eager to collect evidence, agents of the Federal Border Guard Service put up an ambush and filmed two Chinese pouring herbicides into a shallow river late last year. Minutes later dozens of frogs came belly up and one of the Chinese, clad in a khaki jacket and high rubber boots, walked about in the water stuffing them into a plastic bag. The pair was detained and handed over to China.
About 10 other rivers in the area around Vladivostok have been contaminated by such practices that continued throughout this past winter, Fomenko says. Frogs are considered a delicacy in China. Buyers of poisoned frogs either don't suspect that they are poisoned or believe that cooking neutralizes the poison, Fomenko speculated.
Alarmed by these reports, Russia's Natural Resources Ministry is doing tests on water samples from the area's rivers to determine whether their water is still potable.
The cruelty of such poaching is also a concern, says Fomenko. Another brutal way of catching frogs is electrocution. According to police reports, Chinese poachers are often caught carrying electricity generators and two electrodes that they stick into the water. Last year, customs agents seized 129 kilograms of dried frogs at the border, which means that tens of thousands of these creatures had been killed.
Chinese poachers set their eyes on the bordering Russian Far East because of the high unemployment rate and near non-existence of pristine nature in northeastern China. Some Chinese poachers enter as tourists, which became easy after Russia opened its borders in the early 1990s. Others cross over illegally, which is not difficult, given the long and loosely guarded border, says Fomenko.
They pickle jellyfish on the seashore, collect wild ginseng in the woods or hunt down endangered species. In another pattern, Chinese set up underground centers to buy these wildlife treasures from Russians who also suffer from the lack of proper jobs.
The extent and the effects of poaching grow increasingly devastating, says Fomenko. In 1991 customs agents thwarted a mere 11 attempts to smuggle out plants and animal parts while the number of such attempts increased tenfold to 110 last year, statistics show. The overwhelming majority of the contraband was bound for China.
"This is ecological terrorism," Fomenko exclaims describing the Chinese influence on the regional wildlife.
Sometimes poachers threaten as much as regional biodiversity because their targets include endangered Siberian tigers and leopards. Police confiscated three leopard hides from Russians last year and environmentalists maintain that the leopards were killed on contracts with Chinese.
The Far Eastern leopard is facing extinction, with only about 30 specimens left in the wild and any killing may prove critical. Leopard and tiger parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine.
The Chinese are interested in a surprisingly wide range of things such as bear paws, ginseng or deer penises, depending on what is in demand in China in a particular year, Fomenko says. Apart from frogs, paws of Himalayan bears have been a hit lately, and customs agents seized 190 of them last year. Seizures of animal penises peaked in 1993 when a total of 731 deer and fur seal penises were confiscated at the border.
According to Russian border guards, their Chinese counterparts regularly station additional border outposts in summertime when poachers are especially active. Chinese authorities in borderline areas also arrange propaganda campaigns aimed at discouraging citizens from poaching in Russia.
But these measures leave Fomenko skeptical. "How can you constrain a billion Chinese who have nothing to eat?"
Posted 18 February 2005 - 01:32 PM
you put them in a can, feeding them with whatever you want for the taste; snails haven't, it's a basis, like chinese sea cucumber
i use provence hers, or mint..
wait one or two weeks
then hunger for one week ( to remove the shit)
you put salt in the can ( they really dislike that)
2 times, you wash them,
and you cook them
boiling water with bouquet garni, 3/5 minutes
then into a sauce, tomato, red wine, white wine, onions, whatever you want
after the problems begin:
you have to catch them
garlic ones arte industrials from israel or hungary
Posted 18 February 2005 - 01:55 PM
it takes 5 minutes each week
some do it on fire, little ones
well, not sure all snails can be eaten, may be those in your garden are toxic, ask the old indian:-))
snails needs water: rain!
the SNAILS CAVIAR;their eggs, white, very good
Posted 18 February 2005 - 02:07 PM
Where do you find the snail eggs, under leaves in the garden? I've never noticed them.
Posted 18 February 2005 - 02:32 PM
Our native Snail is small but the naturalized variety grows to about 3 cm. in diameter. Maybe they could be enlarged some on a proper american diet.
We have a very large slug called a banana slug here. They are yellow and about the size of a small banana. They like to hang out in coastal redwood forests. I've never tried one, but they sure look tasty.
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