Russians waive indigenous hunting quota on polar bears

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2011:
MOSCOW–Russian hunters will not kill polar bears in 2011,
The Polar Bear Program announced in mid-April 2011 via Russian prime
minister Vladimir Putin’s personal web site. Founded under Putin’s
patronage, The Polar Bear Program added that “Measures taken by
Russia will ensure that the U.S. will kill at least 70 fewer polar
bears than before, which, according to Russian specialists, will
help to sustain and boost the population of this beautiful Arctic

“Putin last year helped scientists put a tracking collar on a
sedated male polar bear,” recalled Nataliya Vasilyeva of Associated
Press. “Before leaving the bear, he patted the animal
affectionately, shook his paw, and said ‘take care.'”
Russia banned hunting polar bears in 1957, but polar bear
hunting continued in Alaska until 2008, when then-Interior Secretary
Dirk Kempthorne listed polar bears as a threatened species due to
shrinkage of the Arctic ice pack, their primary habitat.
The listing also prevented U.S. trophy hunters from importing
the pelts of polar bears killed in Canada. Alaska Congressional
Representative Don Young in March 2011 introduced legislation to
allow imports of polar bear pelts from Canada to resume.
A joint U.S./Russian commission in June 2010 allocated quotas
of 29 polar bears each to Alaska and Chukotka indigenous people. The
Polar Bear Program indicated that the Russian part of the quota will
not be used.

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