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Tuna, polar bear protections rejected

updated 11:10 a.m.
By Juliet Eilperin
Delegates gathered in Doha, Qatar for a global conference aimed at protecting imperiled species rejected a proposal Thursday that would have banned international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna, a coveted fish whose numbers have dropped steeply in recent decades.

The proposal, offered by Monaco and co-sponsored by the United States, failed by a margin of 20 in favor and 68 against, with 30 abstaining. The vote came just hours after the 175 countries assembled at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) rejected a U.S. proposal to limit the hunting of polar bears.

No one questions that Atlantic bluefin populations--which are prized for their rich, buttery taste--have plummeted in recent years. Over the past half-century, the adult population of eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna has declined 74 percent. Much of the decline has come in the past decade. In the western Atlantic, the population has dropped 82 percent in 40 years. The declines came even as bluefin fishing was being governed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), which sets catch quotas for the fish and is supposed to curtail illegal fishing.

But some countries, including Japan and Libya, argued there was no need to impose an outright trade ban when ICCAT officials have the option making further cuts in bluefin tuna catch quotas.

"This was a case of just plain ignoring the science for short-term economic gain," said Susan Lieberman, director of international policy at the Pew Environment Group, in an interview from Doha.

Tom Strickland, the Interior Department's assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks and the leader of the U.S. delegation to CITES, had argued that ICCAT had failed to stop the species' precipitous decline for years.

On the question of polar bear protection, delegates voted 'no' on a proposal that would have banned international trophy hunting and commercial trade in polar bear parts.

The United States sponsored the measure, arguing that it is critical to reduce hunting pressure on polar bears at a time when their habitat is eroding due to melting sea ice. The U.S. listed the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2008.

But an array of countries, including the European Union, resisted the added protections on the grounds that hunting is not the most serious threat the polar bear faces. Canada still allows 300 polar bears to be killed a year for international trade and trophy hunting

Environmentalists decried the move, saying the current harvest of polar bears is too high. In addition to being coveted as trophies, polar bear pelts are converted into rugs that sell in Japan and Europe.

"While there has been a lot of positive momentum in polar bear conservation recently, this is a real setback," said Andrew Wetzler, who directs the Wildlife Conservation Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. "It keeps some of the most important populations of polar bears squarely in the crosshairs. We will continue work to find a new way to protect polar bears from this unsustainable hunt."


Debbi Wilgoren

 |  March 18, 2010; 11:10 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Maybe the 'settled science' folks will have to postpone their funeral for the polar bears and put off that sea voyage to the North Pole. Measured ice extent has been declining through 2005 for about 30 years, but maybe the warmists will need to rework their 'settled science' forecast that all the ice will melt in the next few years.

"Wind contributing to Arctic sea ice loss, study finds"

"New research does not question climate change is also melting ice in the Arctic, but finds wind patterns explain steep decline"

"The new findings also help to explain the massive loss of Arctic ice seen in the summers of 2007-08, which prompted suggestions that the summertime Arctic Ocean could be ice-free withing a decade. About half of the variation in maximum ice loss each September is down to changes in wind patterns, the study says."

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | March 22, 2010 3:22 PM
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One of IPCC Chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri's associates identified another concern perhaps should be addressed by the Doha delegates:

Flowers losing scent due to climate change
Mon, Mar 22, 2010
New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: A rose may stop smelling like a rose.

This is the concern of environmentalists as flowers are losing their scent due to climate change and air pollution. And their fragrance may be lost forever.

Science and Technology Professor Emeritus at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Dr Abdul Latif Mohamad, said genetically modified flowers might be the way out.

Climate change is also the reason Kuala Lumpur City Hall is increasingly turning to shady trees, because flowers which previously formed the centrepiece of its beautification programme have been wilting fast.

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | March 22, 2010 12:52 PM
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I'll bet that Chinese are very tasty when stir-fried in a black bean sauce.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | March 18, 2010 5:32 PM
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MIBROOKS27 writes:

"In Oregon, my state, we had three cougars spotted yesterday, following women walking on a trail in a public park, right next to downtown."

Brooks, I can't find any news reports of any such events occurring in Oregon within the past couple of days. Do you have a web link for us?

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | March 18, 2010 5:24 PM
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It's funny that people get made at the Japanese for eating bluefin tuna (I know the species is threatened and should be protected), but we buy all this junk from China where they eat dogs and cats.

And I doubt dogs or cats have a buttery flavor...

Posted by: misterbumbles | March 18, 2010 4:36 PM
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I'm goning to sew the hides of trophy hunters together and make a nice trampoline.

Posted by: misterbumbles | March 18, 2010 4:33 PM
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As a devout Republican, Christian and Capitalist, I am overjoyed by this decision, since it shows that we can easily buy off the cowardly commies and fuzzy-minded one-worlders at the UN. Our High Priestess, Ann Coulter, has decreed that God gave us the earth to rape. Who cares about the preservation of a species when there are vast profits to be made right now from killing these creatures. We don't give a fig about future generations, since our progeny will be ensconced in the gated compounds that we will build with the money we've made pillaging the natural world, while the rest of the population fight to the death over the few remaining scraps.

Posted by: senatorblbo | March 18, 2010 4:29 PM
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"...Atlantic bluefin populations--which are prized for their rich, buttery taste--"

How do you expect me to oppose a ban on fishing of these tasty creatures after reading that??

Posted by: pgr88 | March 18, 2010 4:20 PM
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If you are morally opposed to hunting, OK. This story was about endangered species. If the polar bear is NOT endangered, then we have been lied to, and the U.S. was off-base in trying to protect them based on dwindling population. What's next, Perdue chickens?

Posted by: rohricwl | March 18, 2010 3:09 PM
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Some of the comments display a shocking level of scientific illiteracy. Sad, really.

Posted by: exerda | March 18, 2010 3:08 PM
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As humans continue to interfere with the balance by overharvesting species to collapse and extinction, each occurence speeds the decline of the health of the planet. Eventually our species may have the option of eating only algae, or one another.

Posted by: mowbrayboy | March 18, 2010 3:05 PM
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albert grosvenor IV, the fourth generation publisher of the national geographic, wrote a few years back that"with the ascent of the corporate state, nature has become a business warehouse in the process of a liquidation sale.' and that sale is promoted to consumers everywhere while human population has soared 700% in a century (whereas it had been increasing at a per-century rate of 9% for the 60,000 years since homo sapiens surpassed neanderthal) republican sensenbrenner and hillary clinton co-sponsored the 'animal and environmental terrorist act' of 2005. it passed congress by voice vote when a handful were even back from xmas break, a neat lil trick. it was primarily designed to protect corporations and if any person or organizations speech or actions cost a company $500 it could be charged as terrorist. not that a corporation which engages in global ecological destruction is not considered terrorist; they are fully legal. will they haul grosvenor, captain watson and oprah off as terrorists? me, i'd love to see a polar bear eat palin, bush, clinton, sensenbrenner, etc.

a horde of locusts doesn't care that it devours and destroys everything in its path... but a plague of locusts is regional and only happens every once in a while. humanity...

next time you're flying into a metro area... look at it and think 'viral disease spreading.' that is what has become of man. a 90% random sterilization of humanity could possibly save the planet from devastation. by 2080 population would be down to the 2 billion it should at most now have; were it not for the grotesquely mismanaged industrial revolution which has damn near destroyed the world in 200 years flat.

but the flat-earthers and creationists worship the corporatist culture and love being overpopulated peon slaves. this society more or less drools in pleasure at television images of torture and endless mass war death and crave more, more. and more rape of nature – more dead polar bears, harp seal cubs, dolphins, whales, gorillas, orangutans... you name it – if it lives; kill it. once there were some 110 million buffalo on the plains but by 1970 there were barely 30,000 left. a small tribe of plains indians could live through a winter from 3-4 buffalo, but the white christians from europe just slaughtered them (and the indians), for kicks while shouting yahoooooo and yipppeee!

Posted by: tazdelaney | March 18, 2010 2:56 PM
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Polar Bears should have never of been put on the Endangered Species List to begin with. The whole thing was a premeditated move to justify government curbs on carbon emissions.

I for one am tired of international bodies trying to set rules that govern how other sovereign nation states conduct themselves in their own borders and waters.

Posted by: moebius22 | March 18, 2010 2:52 PM
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What a bunch of moronic comments! First, the Polar Bear is in no way "endangered". There are annual hunts for them in Canada and, in many areas, they are a danger to people or a nuisance. The same thing is true of animals like cougars in the West. In Oregon, my state, we had three cougars spotted yesterday, following women walking on a trail in a public park, right next to downtown. These cats eat dogs and pet cats, invade home through pet doors, and regularly cause schools to be closed. All because the animal rights nuts managed to convince voters that they were somehow rare or endangered. We they aren't! Neither are the Bluefin Tuna, Great White sharks, or any number of other animals these twits attempted to get listed as "endangered". (Oh, and just to be clear, I don't hunt and only fly fish, always releasing fish I catch.)

The real agenda of these fanatics is to ban hunting altogether and to foist off on humanity their lunatic beliefs in radical vegetarianism. I am sick to death of newspapers and the media fawning all over the nut cases, papering over their insane beliefs with inventions like this "treaty" and this article.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | March 18, 2010 2:32 PM
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It's time for the U.S. to start backing up its position at these treaty meetings with trade sanctions or worse. I hate this freaking world full of selfish morons. Willing to cause the extinction of one of the most amazing fish ever to swim the seas just so some fat businessmen can shove morsels of its flesh into their fat mouths in between rounds of sake and kirin. Unbelievable.

Posted by: VirginiaDad | March 18, 2010 2:25 PM
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Or perhaps it’s time for you dimw1ts to realize that some of this is necessary in order for the human race to survive.
Oh yeah, 7 billion strong and multiplying. We really need to exterminate other species to survive ... NOT!! Let's talk about reducing our human population by 6/7ths. Then perhaps there will be room for all species.

Posted by: lmac5a17 | March 18, 2010 2:15 PM
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Lest we forget...Mother Nature bats last.

Posted by: pablomango | March 18, 2010 1:41 PM
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After reading the article and the comments I have come to the sudden and deafening realization that the supposed intelligence of humans is vastly overrated.

Posted by: foofoofoo | March 18, 2010 1:28 PM
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Don't worry everyone...ultimately we, the humans, ultimately will kill ourselves off the earth in good time.
It's already commenced with the number of increased war and worldwide genocides so it's only a matter of time that the earths human population will substantially decrease.

Posted by: sfcindy415 | March 18, 2010 12:15 PM
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Japanese in soy with wasabi, accompanied by a cold pils. Yum!

Poaches Norwegian in mustard sauce with a chablis. Mouth-watering!

Canuck in a rube and debris sauce, with a glass of cab. Ummm-Ummm, good!

Time for lunch!

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | March 18, 2010 12:12 PM
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If their habitat is shrinking we need to hunt them to manage them to the size of their habitat. Otherwise they'll just starve to death and go completely to waste."
Posted by: ronjaboy | March 18, 2010 11:29 AM

So what you're saying is we should kill them off faster then we are already? What a moron. Who the hell NEEDS to hunt a polar bear other than guys with small penis' and warped egos? And, perhaps, mentally challenged former female Governors of Alaska. The out and out stupidity and greed of the human race never ceases to amaze me.

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | March 18, 2010 11:54 AM
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Kill off the tuna. Kill off the polar bear. We can create enough of our environment (farming? and cattle raising?) to feed and shelter ourselves so a few less species isn't a big deal. Who are we to tell other countries what to eat? Clean water - yes. Control nuclear waste - yes. Clean up horribly polluted landfills - yes. Tell everyone else what to eat and what to preserve - no, no, no, no.

Posted by: KDSmallJr | March 18, 2010 11:52 AM
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It is time to call attention to one of the most egregious anti environmental countries on the planet -CANADA!
The perception of our "meek" cousins is rubbish.
Just witness the extermination of seals, the decimation of huge land masses for shale, the clear cutting of forests, and perhaps the worst of all, the endorsement of slaughter by "hunters" read MORONS, of the disappearing polar bear. So its paws can be used in soup in China for erectile disfunction. It is time to demythologize the fantasy image of Canada.
Or perhaps it’s time for you dimw1ts to realize that some of this is necessary in order for the human race to survive. But as usual you id10t’s thing you have the best of both worlds. Tell you what, logoff and sell that PC, it uses too much energy. You’ll need to get rid of that automobile as it’s impacting the planet. Next you’ll need to sell your home and build yourself a nice mud hut. Then begin living off of the land, fishing, hunting etc. See there’s a lot you’ll need to give up before anyone listens to your hypocritical @zz. There’s always some f%^king ignorant LIB telling us how bad we are yet he’s just as much a part of the problem. They want YOU to change but they don’t make any effort. Or I suppose posting a few ret@rded comments is their idea of helping. What I would like to see is a few of you losers dropped off in polar bear land so we can film the consequences (you getting mauled to death then eaten) and pass along this info to the rest of you retreads. Maybe one day you’ll get it. Also just an FYI, Smashing a few windows at the IMF rally doesn’t constitute as participation in the real issue. I know you’re too ignorant to get it. Grow up, get a life and quit living off of my money LIB T@RD.

Posted by: askgees | March 18, 2010 11:47 AM
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If their habitat is shrinking we need to hunt them to manage them to the size of their habitat. Otherwise they'll just starve to death and go completely to waste.

Posted by: ronjaboy | March 18, 2010 11:29 AM
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This sucks.

Posted by: Obamasnotyamama | March 18, 2010 11:04 AM
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I say so goes the fate of the animal world on this planet, so goes the fate of the human race.

Posted by: allset707 | March 18, 2010 10:59 AM
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It is time to call attention to one of the most egregious anti environmental countries on the planet -CANADA!
The perception of our "meek" cousins is rubbish.
Just witness the extermination of seals, the decimation of huge land masses for shale, the clear cutting of forests, and perhaps the worst of all, the endorsement of slaughter by "hunters" read MORONS, of the disappearing polar bear. So its paws can be used in soup in China for erectile disfunction. It is time to demythologize the fantasy image of Canada.

Posted by: lionsden | March 18, 2010 10:27 AM
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I say issue only hand-to-paw combat licenses. May the best predator win!

Posted by: org2 | March 18, 2010 10:16 AM
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Most humans no longer need to hunt for food so hunting is now "recreation", but why some people get their jollies killing something for no reason (or to stick a head on their wall) is just beyond me.

Posted by: GenuineRisk | March 18, 2010 10:08 AM
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Hopefully one day, we will all come to see the argument "but it will hurt the economy" for what it really is: a selfish load of bullsh*t.

Posted by: distance88 | March 18, 2010 10:02 AM
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Since guns make hunting even Polar Bears simple slaughter, perhaps we should tag all such hunters and then issue limited permits to hunt the hunters in order to give the hunters the proper honor of hunting one of the most dangerous animals on Earth. As an alternative, the polar bear hunters could use spears, or other non-fire arm so that their honor remains intact.

NOTE: Anyone who claims there is any honor at all in hunting such a noble predator with a multiple shot rifle has no concept of what honor is.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | March 18, 2010 10:02 AM
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Hunting is not the "most" danger they (polar bears) face, said the humans.


I say it is not the most danger and we need URGENTLY those bear rugs and those legs to be used as trash cans.

I would love to start making rugs with the skin of those attendees to this convention.

Posted by: coqui44 | March 18, 2010 9:58 AM
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well algore was and is wrong again!

Posted by: infantry11b4faus | March 18, 2010 9:50 AM
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You've gotten to the heart of the matter when you write "It messes up the entire balance of the ecosystem. Since we depend on these ecosystems for our food production, it directly impacts our well-being." If an issue doesn't directly impact the well-being of the powers-that-be it's not that important to them.

Posted by: odessa2 | March 18, 2010 9:42 AM
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There are several points being made that are inherently flawed. First the increase in polar population has more to do more with the technological advancements in monitoring of animals than actual population increase. The polar is a large species that is solitary and travles large distances, they are difficult to track and they reproduce slowly. The hunting issue can be a positive for a species like the polar bear. Money spent on licenses can go back to conservation, but the permits need to be sold at a sustainable quantity for the species. The Duck Stamp did a wonder for water fowl conservation. The LARGEST problem facing the polar bear that makes this a species of special concern is the loss of 40% of its habitat to sea ice melt. This is an unrefutable fact. More people are seeing polar bears because they are being forced into well populated areas.

Posted by: joshekurtz | March 18, 2010 9:35 AM
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Posted by: WhatBubble | March 18, 2010 9:32 AM
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LOL, I love the cute cudly picture, here is a real video of polar bears attacking

Posted by: WhatBubble | March 18, 2010 9:31 AM
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What kind of idiots issue hunting licenses for polar bears? Honey, we're having polar bear for dinner tonight. What kind of wine goes with it?

Posted by: tossnokia | March 18, 2010 9:11 AM
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Human nature in a nutshell. There's a quick buck to be made in shooting some polar bears, while the benefits of protecting them are vaguer and more diffuse. Instant gratification is going to win every time.

Posted by: simpleton1 | March 18, 2010 9:06 AM
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The fact that Polar Bears were listed as endangered in the U.S. in the first place was to justify putting limits on carbon and justifying climate change legislation.

Posted by: moebius22 | March 18, 2010 9:04 AM
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Polar bears should be protected simply because they are God's creations. The US claims to be a God-fearing nation. The US is, in fact and by its actions, an atheist nation with no respect for God's works. Trophy hunting is criminal whether or not it is illegal. Senator Stevens says what? I've been to the Senate office building where Stevens used to take up space. His office was decorated entirely with pelts and heads of the animals he'd murdered just for the killing sport of it. There was also a big banner on his window that said "We will nuke you," hung just below a US flag. Can't say I'd ever seen an office decorated in a way that so accurately depicted its occupant, or the nation he represented.

Posted by: halifar59 | March 18, 2010 9:04 AM
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This is a sad decision. It is obviously fueled by greed and selfishness. Polar bears are just as critical to the region's ecosystem as all other indigenous wildlife. Only humans can be so arrogant.

Posted by: alb2 | March 18, 2010 9:01 AM
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getting rid of an apex predator like polar bears does mean more seals and walruses (for awhile, until their food supply runs out), which means less of whatever they're eating: for example, fish. And if there's less fish, that means there's more of what they're eating: for example, smaller fish or algae. It messes up the entire balance of the ecosystem. Since we depend on these ecosystems for our food production, it directly impacts our well-being. And, for every acre of farmland that is gained somewhere because of climate change, we're probably losing an acre somewhere else. For instance, the already sparse farm area in Africa will get sparser. And don't tell me that they should move. To where? Your spare bedroom or basement? Who is going to take all these environmental refugees?

Posted by: bikinibottom | March 18, 2010 9:00 AM
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Conservatives are contrary simply to be. They think they're being cute and clever. It's sad. They're sad. Grow up.

Posted by: jckdoors | March 18, 2010 8:45 AM
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Let's make it a law!

How would hunters like that directive?

Cowardly human waste are what those hunters are....

Posted by: adelaney2 | March 18, 2010 8:44 AM
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I guess the rest of the world has just written the species off. They've decided that if they are going to die from lack of habitat, they might as well kill them off faster. That is so sad. Man is a terrible creature.

Posted by: lidiworks1 | March 18, 2010 8:43 AM
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Too bad the polar bears are unable to attack the sociopaths who want to kill them in a 'trophy' hunt. The world needs more polar bears and less 'people' who want to slaughter endangered species for their 'parts.'
Lori Price
Managing Editor
Citizens For Legitimate Government

Posted by: lorifromclg | March 18, 2010 8:33 AM
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Who cares. We have pictures of them, we have them in zoos...meh. We don't need them in the wild anymore.

Posted by: tjhall1 | March 18, 2010 8:31 AM
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Less polar bears means MORE SEALS and WALRUS .... Personally I'll thake a cute playfull seal over a blood thirsty polar bear any day ! What these climate alarmist forget is that what is bad for one species (bears) may be good for another (seals). Frankly I think the whole man made AGW theory is full of holes ....IF the earth is warming (and it a BIG IF) it is most probably due to natural phenomonen like increased solar activity, and IF it is warming I really don't see a big downside to that. I've heard AWG people say things like 'Maple sugar production' will be affected or 'the Ski and Snow mobile season will be reduced affectind tourism' are you kidding ???? What's the down side here ???? I'm not seeing it. Imagine all the thousands of acre of land in asia and canada that will become productive farmland if the climate warms.

Posted by: killerm | March 18, 2010 8:24 AM
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12THGENAMERICAN, Here are the facts for you...

Sen. Stevens: Scientists have observed that there are now three times as many polar bears in the Arctic than there were in the 1970s.

Figures cited by government officials do show an increase – though not as big a jump as Stevens claims. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said at the department's press conference that the polar bear population increased from "a low of about 12,000 in the late 1960s to approximately 25,000 today." But the size of the world’s polar bear population is subject to much debate.

Sen. Stevens’ press office told us he based his claim on numbers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Web site. However, we couldn't find support for his statement on the site. Instead, we found a discussion of why it's so hard to point to reliable numbers on the polar bear population.


Posted by: swatkins1 | March 18, 2010 8:21 AM
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Got a link to that 25,000 bears claim?

Posted by: rcubedkc | March 18, 2010 8:19 AM
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12THGENAMERICAN wrote: this is nut's. there were 5000 bears in 1970. there are now 25000. typical global warming hype. religeous zealots.


There are still plenty of conservative scum out there to hunt too. What's the limit on their being hunted for their "trophy" value?

Posted by: swatkins1 | March 18, 2010 8:17 AM
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Hopefully some bears will get to snack on some Japanese people. Making rugs of endangered animals, how shameful this behavior is.

Posted by: Nymous | March 18, 2010 8:15 AM
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this is nut's. there were 5000 bears in 1970. there are now 25000. typical global warming hype. religeous zealots.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | March 18, 2010 8:12 AM
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Saying that hunting shouldn't be banned because it is not the most serious threat that the bears face is like saying that we shouldn't treat Colon cancer because it isn't the leading cause of death.

Posted by: Lefty_ | March 18, 2010 8:06 AM
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