The remains of about 30 reindeer have been found in Russia's far northern Komi republic, where hunting caribou is forbidden by law, a news report said Monday.
Local residents found 16 deer carcasses about 40 kilometers from the village of Nizhny Odes, the Interfax news agency reported, citing a member of a local hunting and fishing society. A further 14 carcasses were discovered in another location nearby.
The hunters, who are believed to have given chase on ski-mobiles, took meat from the reindeer and hide from the animals' legs, which is used in the manufacture of winter boots, leaving their heads and legs behind in the snow.
The deaths mark the largest mass killing of reindeer in the Komi republic in the past decade, Interfax reported.
Hunting caribou has been outlawed in the Komi republic since 2000 after the number of wild reindeer fell to a critical level. Reindeer have since been included in the republic's Red Book — a list of rare and endangered species.