Canada, Greenland accord to protect polar bears

Oct 31, 2009
File picture shows two Polar Bears in Manitoba, Canada. Canada and Greenland agreed on a series of measures aimed at protecting shared populations of polar bears which roam between the Nunavut territory and the huge arctic island, officials said.

Canada and Greenland agreed on a series of measures aimed at protecting shared populations of polar bears which roam between the Nunavut territory and the huge arctic island, officials said.

Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice made the announcement during a conference call from Kangerluusuaq, , where he signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Friday with Greenland's Minister of Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture, Ane Hansen and Prentice's Nunavut territory counterpart Daniel Shewchuk.

The deal proposes the creation of a joint committee that would recommend a total allowable -- and sustainable -- annual polar bear harvest and a fair division of the harvest.

Hunting polar bears has been banned since 1973 but the Arctic's indigenous peoples are exempt out of respect for their ancestral traditions, despite scientists' objections over how the quotas have been divided.

The committee, to include members of remote northern Canada's aboriginal Inuit organizations, would also coordinate science, traditional knowledge and outreach activities.

"The government of is committed to working collaboratively to protect one of Canada's true natural, and national, symbols. An iconic animal, whose rare and rugged beauty stands as a stark reminder that Canada is one of the world's true Nordic nations," Prentice said.

Hansen stressed it was "important that traditional knowledge is used together with science" in the process, while Shewchuk said the MOU "will help us make the wisest possible management decisions for our populations."

Canada has some 15,500 polar bears, divided into thirteen distinct populations. Two of them, living on the ice sheets of Kane Basin and Baffin Bay, are trans-boundary and shared between Nunavut and Greenland.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Big science from small insects

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Polar bears at risk from ice loss

Oct 14, 2005

Survival of the remaining polar bears is increasingly jeopardized by rapid disappearance of the arctic sea ice, conservation groups say.

Recommended for you

Preserving crucial tern habitat in Long Island Sound

1 hour ago

Great Gull Island is home to one of the most important nesting habitats for Roseate and Common terns in the world. The estimated 1,300 pairs of Roseate terns that summer on the 17-acre island at the eastern ...

California's sea otter numbers holding steady

2 hours ago

When a sea otter wants to rest, it wraps a piece of kelp around its body to hold itself steady among the rolling waves. Likewise, California's sea otter numbers are holding steady despite many forces pushing ...

22 elephants poached in Mozambique in two weeks

15 hours ago

Poachers slaughtered 22 elephants in Mozambique in the first two weeks of September, environmentalists said Monday, warning that killing for ivory by organised syndicates was being carried out on an "industrialised" ...

Pakistan releases smuggled turtles into the wild

21 hours ago

Pakistani officials and environmentalists on Monday released some 200 rare turtles into the River Indus after the reptiles were retrieved from a southwestern Chinese town where they were seized by customs ...

User comments : 0