Burning Down Poaching Camps

Anti Poaching enforcement trip from Sobolevo:..Sasha recognizes a place that he would put out a net to fish and also sees that the sediment on the rocks has been washed away in the areas that a net would be dragged up on... these are very subtle clues... but when we land on that bank there are a few areas that have some spilled caviar... the guys get excited and start going thru the many paths into the woods from this point... eventually they do find the poacher camp... it is far enough in that they had not heard the engines on the river and they are still there.  This is a small camp they have an area for their fishing equipment and a small processing area that is surrounded by barbed wire to keep the bears out.  There is a multi trunked tree that has been cut up to create a stand for the caviar screens used to break thru the connective tissue and yield individual eggs.  But all in all there is only about 200kg of caviar here... An MI 8 can carry two tons of caviar back and most poachers that pay for these expensive rides in and out want to fill the helicopter.  A ride in is about $10,000 and then to get back out a month later you have to pay it again.  The poachers know not to bring in identity papers because if they are caught, often the fish inspectors don't have the ability to take them back to prosecute them... but if they can find passports they can use the passport to prosecute them in absentia.  So the guys have decided to just destroy the caviar and fishing tent areas... they will leave them the sleeping area because the helicopter may not be back to get them for some time.  They figure this will cost the poachers about 25,000 USD and if they just keep them from having working capital it might be too difficult for them to get back to do this next year.  They will destroy these areas by burning them.  These guys never give me warning... next thing I know they've thrown gas on the fishing tent area and I barely get a photo of the initial explosion... but the

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