Finnish Customs officials are investigating whether fishing tackle shops are illegally selling parts of endangered animals as lures. It is thought that some outlets are marketing bear fur and rare bird feathers as exotic flies.
Tackles shops from Helsinki to Rovaniemi are currently under investigation for allegedly purchasing the items online, mainly from India. The feathers of various endangered birds are thought to have been used, including grey junglefowl, as well as fur from brown and polar bears.
“For example, we have found necks of a few hundred grey junglefowls,” said Seppo Makitalo, head of the Customs investigation. “When it comes to parts of other animals, it is difficult to give exact figures, as, for example, the skins have been cut into little pieces,” he added in the Helsingin Sanomat report.
According to Makitalo, many anglers who have bought the equipment are probably doing so without the knowledge that the items are illegal. Anyone found to have purchased the paraphernalia in the current investigation will, therefore, go uncharged.
Owners of the offending tackle shops could have charges brought against them, however, for nature conservation offences. Such crimes are punishable by fines or up to two years in jail.