Administration to Continue Ban on Polar Bears

US Sportsmen's Alliance, Bear Hunting Magazine
02/25/2009

While the newly installed Administration gains its sea legs, it has already made a decision that negatively impacts hunters and conservation funding for polar bears.

In the first significant decision by the new Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said that it will continue banning the import of polar bear trophies from Canada. The announcement was made of February 24, 2009.

Last year, polar bears were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The designation came as a result of a lawsuit threat by environmental organizations that claimed polar bear numbers will decline. Biologists of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said such a decline might be as far away as fifty years because of possible global warming and shrinking arctic ice.

The USSA has consistently argued against the designation. It does nothing to deal with the alleged cause of possible future decline. Additionally, the USSA has made clear that by banning the importation of trophies, conservation dollars generated from applicable fees will dry up.

This FWS decision was immediately hailed by the leading anti-hunting group in the country, the Humane Society of the United States and its legislative wing, the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF). In typical fashion, the HSLF used overblown rhetoric when praising the Obama Administration without explaining how reducing conservation funding is going to help better manage polar bear populations.

As previously reported, the USSA has worked with U.S. Representative Don Young (R- AK), who has introduced legislation in Congress to amend the relevant statutes hijacked by antis. Youngs bills, HR 1054 and HR 1055 allow for the importation of existing and new polar bear trophies. Both bills guarantee a restoration of conservation funds currently lost.

The USSA will continue supporting the bills.



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