April 15, 2011

Polar Bears Still Safe In Russia, For Now

Russia, reneging on an agreement made with the United States allowing a quota of 29 polar bears to be hunted, posted a statement on its website saying it will not allow the animals to be hunted in its far north polar region.

"A decision has been taken on the government level that Russia will not be using its quota," said the statement found on the personal website of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

A deal reached by a Russian-US commission was approved last month by the Chukotka governor to allow native peoples of the far northern Chukotka region and the US state of Alaska to hunt and kill 29 polar bears each, including 19 females.

But the statement found on Putin's website said that the government had not given the natural resources ministry the go ahead to hand out hunting permits for endangered polar bears, prolonging the ban on killing them.

Putin, who has placed the polar bears under his protection, has four sections of his website devoted to endangered animals -- one of those sections is devoted to polar bears.

Hunting polar bears has been prohibited in Russia since 1957, but poaching of the great bears still exists and experts say it is hard to control it. At least 30 polar bears are killed annually from poaching.


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