Russia embraces hunting to protect imperiled polar bears

Mon, 2007-04-16 10:51Bill Miller
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Russia embraces hunting to protect imperiled polar bears

The threats to Russia’s polar bears posed by global warming and poaching have put villages along the country’s remote northeastern coast at the center of efforts to ensure their survival. Shrinking sea ice has driven the bears farther from their natural sources of food.

And though poaching has been a longtime problem in areas where bear hunting was once a way of life, the habitat loss has made illegal hunting easier.

“The normal life space for the polar bears is shrinking,” said Anatoly A. Kochnev, a biologist with the Pacific Scientific Research and Fisheries Center. “They come in search of food on shore, and the main sources of food are where people live.”

Concern is growing globally that the world’s polar bears are threatened; the Bush administration is proposing to include them on the United States’ listing of threatened species. Scientists, environmentalists and Russian villagers, meanwhile, have expressed hope the government’s conservation plan, which reverses a hunting ban imposed more than five decades ago by the Soviet Union, will be successful.

Comments

We should hurry to see the white bears before they die out!
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Disruption

This is a guest post by Zach Roberts.

As a documentary producer, I watch more than my fair share of environmental protest documentaries — probably about 20 a year. And almost all of them have the same, vague message: we need to do something!

Their scenes re-play like a bad video montage in my mind: earnest young people speaking at podiums, boring climatologists rambling on about the coming end of the world, forest fires, melting ice shelves, you know how it goes. In the lefty journalism world, we call this “preaching to the choir.”

Then there's Disruption,...

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