Russia Will Hunt Polar Bears to Save Them

Siberian officials hope legalizing hunting will end poaching
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2007 8:08 AM CDT
Knut, the famous polar bear cub   (Getty Images (by Event))

(Newser) – Russia is lifting a fifty-year old ban on hunting polar bears, expressly to save the endangered species from extinction. Poaching has been endemic in Siberia since the injunction, but it's increased since shrinking sea ice has forced bears to search for food on shore, making them easier to kill.

Officials hope a limited legal hunt will mollify poachers, who the government estimates now kill as many as 100 a year, from a population that's shrunk to 2,000. The hunt could resume as soon as a census determines a quota that wouldn't threaten the bears' existence. One proponent cites a proverb: “The wolves would not be hungry, and the sheep would remain intact.”