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Table 1 Breakdown of coding themes by frequency

From: Using crime script analysis to elucidate the details of Amur tiger poaching in the Russian Far East

Referenced item/theme Coding frequency (#) out of 116 interviews Example of participant’s statements
 Heat-vision goggles 16 “Access to roads is how people kill tigers. They drive around at night until they see a tiger.”
 Spotlights 14 “We spotlight tigers from the road and night and shoot from the truck”
 Camera trap 2 “Camera traps are used to learn the movements of the tigers.”
 GPS 5 “A local buyer will pay us for the GPS coordinates of tiger tracks if we come across them when hunting in the taiga.”
Poaching process   
 Use of roads 34 “Logging roads make the taiga more accessible, hunting is much easier.”
 Mention of winter 7 “Most tigers are killed in the winter. Poaching is easier then.”
Motivation for poaching total:
 Broken down into:
Elite “thrill” killing 5 “I have poached about ten tigers in my hunting career. I have two sons in the FSB. So, who will stop me?”
 Poverty 19 “Unemployment drives poaching—there are no jobs here. You can get 350,000 rubles (~ $4800) for a tiger. Such money will sustain you for a long time.”
 Human/tiger conflict 7 “I sold the bones of one tiger after I killed it for attacking my dog. I got $4000 for it.”
 Corruption, in general
 Specific mention of FSB
 Specific mention of police
 Specific mention of government
“Yes, the government and police know about the tiger poaching—of course. The people up top are getting money from this. If I weren’t talking to people in the government, I wouldn’t be able to be a buyer.”
 Chinese involvement in trade 33 “The Chinese have hidden compartments in their vehicles to smuggle goods over the border.”
 2013 change in law 6 “The changing of the laws (in 2013) has affected buyers more, there are fewer now. Maybe about half as many.”
 Rifle used to kill tiger 14 “No one uses snares. It is opportunistic killing from the road with a rifle.”
 Necessity of hunting license to carry a rifle 8 “Poachers will get a license to hunt any type of legal game because you have to have a hunting license to legally carry a firearm.”
 Importance of connections/trust within network 11 “People who know people kill tigers. Everything depends on a person’s connections.”
 Transporting tiger products 19 “There was an instance where a tiger was killed and the carcass was found in a logging truck, buried under the logs.”
Reference to supply chain stages:
 Poacher to local buyer
 Local buyer to regional buyer
 Regional buyer to Chinese border
“There are 3–4 Chinese buyers in Ussuryisk. They will hire smugglers to cross the border. Russians never cross the border, only Chinese do.”
Reference to tiger products:
 Skins (not in demand)
 Entire carcass
“Bones are in demand. Things like leg joints, knee caps, canines, tail joints, head parts, claws. No ribs. No skins either—those are burned in the forest. If they (poachers) had a way to sell it, they would. But there is no demand now.”
Musk deer poachinga 15 “Musk deer are absolutely poached, it’s a money game. One set of glands is worth 30,000 rubles (~ $400). Most regions you can’t even get a license for musk deer, so hunters just shoot whenever they see one.”
  1. aI mention musk deer poaching for two reasons: it came up frequently in my interviews, as these deer are poached relentlessly for their tusks, and tiger products and musk deer products are often intermingled in the trafficking process. Linkages between the two trade warrants further investigation.