The FSB, Russian Federal Security Service, has busted a smuggling ring attempting to export illegal bear paws used for medicine and food
Security forces in Russia have discovered a grisly cargo containing a total of 44 severed bear paws which are thought to come from the illegal slaughter of 60 animals.
As well as the bear paws, investigators found a pair of extinct woolly mammoth tusks as well as two paws of the endangered Siberian tiger.
According to the FSB: “Two Russian nationals and two foreigners have been detained.”
If convicted, the detainees could get up to seven years in prison.
The goods were seized by guards at Kraskino, close to China’s north-eastern border.
Another 198 bear paws and two mammoth tusks were seized from a garage at a house linked to the alleged smuggling ring in Primorsky region.
Also found in the raid were four sacks of unidentified animal body parts.
The director-general of Amur Tiger Centre, Sergey Aramilev, said: “This is clearly a crime.
“All the circumstances of the crime and all the chains in the criminal ring will be established during the investigation.
“It is most important to establish where are the remaining parts of the tiger.
Bear meat became a delicacy in China under the last ruler of the Shang Dynasty King Zhou, who died in 1046BC.
Today, bear parts are sold across Asia through black markets.
The bile and organs of a bear are thought to cure anything from sexual impotency to a fever.
Bear paws can also be turned into ashtrays and are commonly used in a soup-like broth.
Due to their demand, bear paws can fetch more than $1000 (£774.74) per paw.
Back in May, Chinese officials recovered a haul of paws being smuggled in from Russia worth more than $460,000 (£356,381.92).