Russia - Ban the Import of Polar Bear Pelts

  • by: Judith B.
  • target: Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, The Russian Federation

Polar bears are already struggling to cope with disappearing Arctic sea ice, not to mention overfishing and pollution. What they don’t need is commercial hunting. However, despite there only being about 20,000 polar bears left, the trade in their pelts is thriving.

It has been predicted that polar bears might be extinct within the next couple of decades unless decisive action is taken now. Commercial exploitation for novelty rugs is simply not sustainable.

The pelts come from Canada, under the guise of sustenance hunting. However, driving the demand are two other countries, China and Russia. Ironically, the latter banned the killing of Russian polar bears in 1956, although the ban was partially lifted recently.

Russia has already banned the import of harp seal pelts, making their slaughter a lot less economically viable. Now it needs to do the same thing for polar bears.

Tell the Russian government to ban the import of polar bear pelts immediately.

We the undersigned ask that you ban the import of polar bear (Ursinus maritimus) pelts. This species is already facing serious threats, including disappearing sea ice, dwindling fish stocks, the impact of ocean acidification on the food chain and pollution. Numbers are predicted to fall by two thirds because of the first alone.

Populations simply cannot sustain commercial hunting, and if it were to continue, it places polar bears at risk of extinction. A legal market for imported pelts also encourages the black market in Russian polar bear skins. Demand is what keeps the industry, legal and illegal, going, which places Russia in a unique position to take the lead on polar conservation.

Banning imports of the pelts would mean that one of the major markets had gone, making the practice a lot less economically viable. We understand that Russia has already banned the import of harp seal pelts and now that we ask you do the same for polar bear skins as a matter of urgency.  

Thank you for your attention.

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