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Between the years, 2001 and 2010, hunters hoping to sell trophy skins to collecters, killed an estimated 6,000 polar bears in Russia. That might not seem like a large number, but it represents a significant percentage of the remaining polar bears – 20,000.

During that time, the Arctic icecap, which provides food and a natural habitat for the animals, has begun to disappear at an alarming rate.

The US Geological Survey warned in 2007 that diminishing sea ice could result in the loss of two-thirds of the world's polar bear population within 50 years.

Guardian U.K.


A clause in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species law, which allows for the legal killing of polar bears, has long been a problem for organizations trying to save polar bears. Now animal rights activists from the U.S. and Russia are uniting to lobby their respective governments to have the polar bear’s status upgraded to appendix two, which would make it illegal to kill them for their skins.

From the Guardian U.K.:

"The real opportunity to ban the trade is around the corner," said Jeffrey Flocken, head of IFAW's Washington DC office. Activists have been lobbying officials in the US to table the so-called "uplist" proposal by 4 October, ahead of a global Cites conference early next year, but fear US reluctance after a similar proposal did not pass a vote at the convention's last meeting in Doha in 2010.

IFAW activists have also received written assurances from the Russian ministry of natural resources that it will support an initiative tabled by the US, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Guardian. Activists hope that joint Russian-US support will help the motion receive the two-thirds vote it needs to pass inside the 176-country body.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

Recently, two polar bear skins sold for $13,146 each at an auction held in Canada. In Russia – with Russia and China representing the largest markets for polar bear skins – the trophy animals have sold for as much as $40, 934.

In 2009, poachers shot and killed the last surviving Java Rhino. That species was recently declared extinct. Trophy hunters who sell Rhino horns to Chinese merchants have been a major threat to the survival of many species.

If you would like to join the effort to save the polar bear, please help by making this message go viral, and please visit the following websites:

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
http://www.ifaw.org/...

Human Society International (HSI)
http://www.hsi.org/

Originally posted to praenomen on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 05:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you for working for Polar Bears! (6+ / 0-)

    I love polar bears especially and this is hard to read about, always. Ialways sign the petitions I get sent for them.

    This summer's arctic melt is so discouraging. It's going to happen much faster than was anticipated.

    Polar bears and elephants, getting hit hard.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 05:14:37 PM PDT

  •  Bless our polar bears (6+ / 0-)

    Photobucket

    Thank you for standing up for them.

    Have you taken action today? We have work to do.

    by noweasels on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 05:22:02 PM PDT

  •  From a scientific perspective (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.iucnredlist.org/...
    The polar bear is a vulnerable species, not yet endangered.

    Further the threat to the polar bear is from ice cap reduction, not hunting.

    I understand that many people who don't understand animal populations or the natural world and probably have no wish to, for reasons unknown to me, fear and hate hunters. I've no idea why this is so but it is.

    Historically animals that are hunted are conserved, by hunters. No I'm not talking about bison a hundred years ago, I'm talking about since modern wildlife management, since Leopold and many others established methods of conserving animal populations.

    One of the worst things you can do to help preserve species is to donate to radical animal rights groups, they bleed precious funds and resources from government agencies and scientists tasked with saving species.

    Polar bears unlike  many animals face a unique threat, their habitat will disappear. Wether they will survive or become part of the brown bear population from which they recently sprang and with wich they are currently breeding is unknown.

    Lastly, in the US polar bears are legally hunted by First Nations people, the Inuit. They have no need or requirement to obtain any sort of license or even report how many they kill. And I'll tell you what, I'm good with that. They are hunters, they shoot bear. One guy shot 20 in a winter. That's his business. If he has great grandchildren they can think back to this time.

    We fly to the arctic to take photos, we fly to Yellowstone to hear a wolf howl, we maintain air conditioned mansions in Los Angelas, fly to ski in Vail and visit the folks down in the Keys, and that's what's killing the bears, us.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 06:41:43 PM PDT

    •  I don't think I understand your agenda. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock

      You keep cropping up in animal rights and environmental posts, trying to undermine our efforts.

      •  I disagree with what you are saying, and politely (0+ / 0-)

        I state why. I believe animal rights groups do great harm to wildlife and our management of it. My agenda is fact based scientific decisions about how we approach issues environmental. You factually mischaracterize hunting as being responsible for decline in polar bear populations, something not born out by the most authoritative scientific source available.

        I think that the best way to approach these issues is to first be science based, not emotion based.

        The environmental movement was hijacked 30 years ago and has been ineffective ever since. I seek to change that.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 08:23:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unfortunately, government actions have (0+ / 0-)

          failed dramatically, and there are many scientists who would disagree with you. That is one reason "extremist" animal rights activists are uniting to pressure their governments to take action.

          I am very offended by your use of the word "extremist." It belies your statement that you "politely" state why you disagree.

          Take a look at the endangered species list. It is almost mind boggling how many animals have been lost to poaching. I'm not certain why you claim that hunting has had nothing to do with their disappearance.      

          •  You claim that my article mischaracterized (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ban nock

            the problem with poaching (not hunting for meat, but hunting for the sake of collecting trophies), and you claim that you preferred to present scientific data to support your claim -- and yet you presented nothing.

            There is so much data available that supports the claim that poaching is driving some species to the brink of extinction that your argument is suspicious.

            There are several endangered species that are threatened by poaching. Animals such as the black rhinoceros, gorilla, African elephant and tiger are the most at risk due to the practice. In fact, according to Sea World, 90 percent of black rhino deaths are caused by the poaching of their horns. African elephants are killed for their ivory tusks. Poaching of gorilla meat and tiger fur [and you can include polar bear fur] has also led to the decline of these species. According to a March 2010 "Sunday Times" article, the Indian tiger population dropped almost 40 percent from 2002 to 2010.

            Significance

            If the prevalence of poaching continues, the practice will be a primary cause in the extinction of several species.

            I mentioned the Java Rhino in my article because it was one species that was driven to extinction by poaching.

            Those of us who have been involved in this struggle for a long time have met many people who try to discredit our actions. And they usually offer the same types of arguments. Many claim they have no problem with people hunting animals to extinction. You said:

            Lastly, in the US polar bears are legally hunted by First Nations people, the Inuit. They have no need or requirement to obtain any sort of license or even report how many they kill. And I'll tell you what, I'm good with that. They are hunters, they shoot bear. One guy shot 20 in a winter. That's his business. If he has great grandchildren they can think back to this time.
            I have heard so many variations of that story that I no longer listen to it -- and that includes the harvesting of whales, sharks, and dolphins and the slaughter of helpless seal pups: there is always someone who has no problem with it.

            But I do.

            Ninety percent of large marine life has already disappeared.

            I am not an extremist. I happen to value life. Every species. And I work everyday to try to protect a world that is on the brink of extinction. And those of us who have the conviction to fight for what we believe in -- everyday, have a serious uphill battle to fight: we have to face corrupt politicians and governments -- greedy businessmen and energy companies who could care less about the extinction of a species (if it can be exploited), and many people who just hate activists...but the hardest part of our struggle at times is dealing with people who claim to be working to achieve the same goals, and yet, they always seem to be supporting the people who cause the most damage.

            •  And I forgot to address the link you included (0+ / 0-)

              in your comment. I am familiar with the IUCN and I have no problem with conservation efforts, but sometimes they are shortsighted and ineffective, as in the case of the Java Rhino.

              Re: the agenda of the IUCN:

              At all times, the institution (in all its forms) has heavily emphasized as a key operating principle the strong need to cater to and address the needs of local nations, communities and peoples, so that those nations, communities and peoples can take ownership of future, long term conservation goals and objectives in their local areas

              Accept in the case of the Java Rhino, conservationists couldn't persuade local people to quit killing them.
              The main factor in the continued decline of the Javan rhinoceros population has been poaching for horns, a problem that affects all rhino species. The horns have been a traded commodity for more than 2,000 years in China, where they are believed to have healing properties.

              Because the rhinoceros' range encompasses many areas of poverty, it has been difficult to convince local people not to kill a seemingly (otherwise) useless animal which, could be sold for a large sum of money.

              I have spent a lot of time countering your comments because you left the impression that the IUCN disproves the need for "extremist" activists. The organization has experienced some success, but a lot of it was built off the efforts of animal rights activists such as Dian Fossey.
            •  You misunderstand the word poaching (0+ / 0-)

              It's not the difference between meat hunting and trophy hunting but simply any illegal taking of wildlife. If I harvest a dead deer hit by a car and bring it home to eat after 24 hours that is poaching. In my state you need a road kill tag within 24 hours.

              I personally don't think poaching is the cause of most wildlife decline but I'd be more than happy to take a look at a link even from an extremist anti hunting group if you had provided one. My experience, having spent long periods outside many hours a day in polar bear habitat and following the issue for decades is that climate change more than anything else is by far the biggest threat, and the IUCN seems to see things that way too.

              I happen to think hunters are the worlds greatest conservationists, you think we are the worst. I support my views with links to authoritative scientific orgs, you do not. I'm glad you care about animals, I simply think your views are uninformed and misguided.

              How big is your personal carbon footprint?

              by ban nock on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 06:14:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You have a right to your opinion, but you (0+ / 0-)

                don't have the right to  hijack other people's diaries to promote your agenda:

                The environmental movement was hijacked 30 years ago and has been ineffective ever since. I seek to change that.
                If you want to change it, post your own diaries. I promise, I won't post condescending comments in your article.  Your comments are anything but polite.

                There is more than enough evidence that hunters have caused an incredible amount of damage to exotic animal populations. You can nitpick words to death, but it doesn't change the facts.

                And like I said, the IUCN's policies work only under certain conditions, but when they are pitted against indigenous populations who have no motivation to change then they have been an abysmal failure.

                I hunted when I was young. I grew up in Texas and Oklahoma where almost everyone hunted. But as I matured, my feelings changed and I now have much more reverance for life. Finding a dead animal on the highway isn't the same thing as shooting an animal with an arrow and leaving it to die, which many hunters do.

                You make it sound as if you are doing something honorable when you kill an animal. There is nothing honorable about it. There is much more honor in preserving life than in building up herd populations just to have more animals to hunt.

  •  I'm not sure there's much that can be done. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    praenomen

    The gun nuts want their pelts and their habitat is dying.

    It's sad but when man and nature are both against you.......

    Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

    by Bush Bites on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 06:51:38 PM PDT

  •  i almost didnt read this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    praenomen

    it is just so depressing.

    thanks for thinking of the polar bear and writing this diary. They are  such a remarkable being.
    and for pointing out that we can do more than close our eyes and pretend they  are okay.

    "With malice toward none, with charity for all..." -Abraham Lincoln not a modern republican

    by live1 on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 07:45:14 PM PDT

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