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Federal Court Upholds Ban on Importing Polar Bear Trophies
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Last week, in a significant win for wildlife lovers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a ban on import of polar bear trophies killed by hunting.

The ban was originally imposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service in 2008, as polar bears are considered as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The ban also works retroactively and prohibits import of trophies of polar bears killed before the ban came into effect.

Organizations who challenged the ban include Safari Club International and Conservation Force. Last year, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance opposed the listing of polar bears as endangered species and backed an unsuccessful measure to allow importing polar bear trophies and hides proved to have been obtained legally.

  
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Canada allows trophy hunting of polar bears and many U.S. hunters visit Canada for hunting polar bears which number about 20, 000 in Canada – roughly half of the world’s population of polar bears. In the United States, only a few indigenous people in Alaska are allowed to hunt polar bears subject to restrictions. Other countries like Russia, and Norway which act on behalf of Greenland, do not allow the hunting of polar bears.

Organizations supporting the ban included the Humane Society of the United States and Defenders of Wildlife.

The pride of being able to display trophies have always been associated with the urge to hunt big game, and possibly the continuation of the ban would help to save a few more polar bears by reducing one of the biggest incentives to hunt them.

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