Connect to share and comment
Thanks to Vladimir Putin, Russia banned the hunting of polar bears this year.
Thanks in large part to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Russia has decided not to allow the hunting of polar bears this year.
Russia will not allow the hunting of the bears in its far north despite an agreement with the United States that would have allowed a quota of 29 bears to be killed, according to a government statement Thursday and reported by AFP.
"A decision has been taken on the government level that Russia will not be using its quota," read the statement, which appeared on Putin's personal website.
The polar bear is an endangered species, but the United States and Russia had agreed to permit the hunting of 29 bears each a year on the argument that such hunting is vital for indigenous people in Alaska and in Russia's far north, AP reports.
A group supported by Putin, called the Polar Bear Program, worked to prohibit this year's hunt, it states.
Putin has long been a supporter of polar bears as well as other large endangered animals. He has helped put tracking devices on the bears, joined scientists in studying the grey whale and supports endangered big cats.
Polar bears have become a symbol of climate change as environmentalists have argued that warmer temperatures have caused sea ice to melt, which has led to the death of some of the bears.
Scientists estimated in 2008 that there might be 20,000 to 25,000 of them left.
"As available sea ice decreases, polar bears have to swim farther to find suitable habitat and it takes much longer to find a meal. Compounding the problem, sea ice loss also impacts polar bears main food source--seals," states the National Wildlife Federation.
Last month, in an unrelated incident, a young polar bear named Knut who had become an international celebrity died at the Berlin Zoo.