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  Cat detective meets a fishy end
Updated 13 July 2003, 14.36
Cat and sturgeon graphic
You've heard of sniffer dogs, but what about a sniffer cat?

Police in Russia have been using a feline crime fighter called Rusik to help them sniff out fish smugglers near the Caspian Sea.

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But now Rusik has met a tragic end - he was run over and killed by a car.

But the police think there's something a bit fishy about his death.

The car that ran him over had been used by smugglers in the past.

Big business

Sturgeon smuggling is big business because the eggs from the fish are used to make the expensive food called caviar.

Rusik's skill at sniffing out hidden fish was so good that he had replaced the local sniffer dog.

The cat detective walked into a police station a year ago as a stray kitten. The staff quickly adopted him, feeding him on scraps of fish confiscated from smugglers.

Extinction threat

Most of the world's caviar comes from the Caspian Sea.

And because there's so much money to be made, the sturgeon has been hunted to the brink of extinction.

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