Kazakh poachers sentenced to life for murdering ranger who tried to protect saiga antelope

Wild saiga antelope walking, photo: Andrey Giljov
Wild saiga antelope, photo: Andrey Giljov

A Kazakh court on Friday sentenced three poachers to life in prison for murdering a state ranger who attempted to stop them from hunting the endangered saiga antelope.

The case that drew the attention of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the president of Kazakhstan.

The court said the three men had assaulted two state rangers in January 2019, one of whom then died from his wounds, the local news website Tengrinews reported.

The court also sentenced four others to six years each for poaching saiga antelopes, a critically endangered species whose horns are used in traditional Chinese medicine. China’s native saigas have been hunted to extinction, making the surviving Kazakh and Russian¬†animals the only source.

The defendants left the badly wounded 52-year-old ranger, Yerlan Nurgaliev, and his partner alone and took the keys to their car. They denied murder charges.

Tokayev last year described Nurgaliev as a hero and called for tougher punishments for saiga poaching.

Source: Reuters, Photo: Wild saiga antelope by Andrey Giljov

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