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Pressure on Russia to Curb Polar Bear Hunting  - July 2006

The polar bear population in the Arctic is estimated to be 20,000 to 25,000 according to The Polar Bear Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union. Due to global warming a 30% decline in their numbers is expected, due to the melting of the bears’ sea ice habitat over the next 45 years. Pollution and over hunting are also immediate fears.

Cooperation by the United States and Russia is paramount in order for this treaty to work. A great illegal trade exists in Asia for gall bile and gall bladders from polar bears and other bears because of their uses in medicine.

Two Polar Bears rest together

Two Polar Bears relaxing together

A polar Bear Winks at the camera

This bear winks at the camera

 

 

The treaty would make it illegal for any individual to possess these parts. Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz says, “Without these provisions the future of polar bear populations in Russia are very much in jeopardy”. A comparable Senate Bill which was approved in June, supports the spending of $2 million a year through 2010 for the polar bear program. The House bill must be agreeable with the Senate bill.

In a statement from Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, the bill’s Senate sponsor, “This bill will simultaneously support the conservation of U.S. and Russian polar bear populations and the historical traditions of indigenous peoples in the Arctic region”.