Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Yury Trutnev has approved a strategy for polar bear preservation in Russia, according to a statement published on Tuesday.
The ministry's statement said the strategy aims to determine the mechanisms of preserving animal populations in the Russian Arctic and reduce the negative impact of human activity in their habitats.
"The strategy is consistent with a five-party agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears [achieved] in 1973 signed in Oslo (Norway) and an agreement between the Russian and the U.S. governments on the preservation and utilization of the Alaska-Chukotka polar bear population, concluded in Washington in 2000," the statement said.
"It is also intended to ensure adequate populations of this unique animal in the changing climate in the Arctic and control the growth of human impacts on the marine and coastal ecosystems of the northern circumpolar basin," it continued.
There are from 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears in the wild, including up to 7,000 in Russia. Russian experts say poachers kill from 300 to 700 bears annually. Melting Arctic ice affects the climate of the entire planet. Global warming has already driven polar bears to cannibalism. Global warming may threaten the lives of a quarter of the world's population by 2100.
Last month, the biodiversity program coordinator at WWF-Russia, Vladimir Krever, said polar bear hunting, with an annual quota of 29 animals per year, might begin on Russia's Chukotka Peninsula next year.
Deputy Director of Wrangel Island State Natural Reserve Nikita Ovsyannikov said the decision could be a serious threat to the local bear population.
The illegal trade in polar bear hides, a species in steady decline throughout the Arctic, is on the rise in Russia.
MOSCOW, July 6 (RIA Novosti)