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October 31, 2009

Greenland, Canada Commit To Polar Bear Protection

Canada and Greenland are taking steps to protect populations of polar bears that live between the two countries, officials announced on Friday.

Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced this during a conference call after he signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) along with Greenland's Minister of Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture, Ane Hansen and Prentice's Nunavut territory representative Daniel Shewchuk.

The deal suggests the writing of a partnered committee that would advocate a total yearly number of polar bears to be harvested and an equal separation of the hunt.

Hunting polar bears has been illegal since 1973, but the Arctic's indigenous peoples do not follow this ban due to reverence of their traditions, regardless of scientists' oppositions over how the pelts have been separated.

The committee will also align science, conventional information and outreach programs.

"The government of Canada is committed to working collaboratively to protect one of Canada's true natural, and national, symbols. An iconic animal, whose rare and rugged beauty stands as a stark reminder that Canada is one of the world's true Nordic nations," Prentice stated.

Hansen emphasized that it was "important that traditional knowledge is used together with science" in the development, as Shewchuk noted that the MOU "will help us make the wisest possible management decisions for our polar bear populations."