Government approves an Action Plan on conservation of the Alaska-Chukotka polar bear population

Government approves an Action Plan on conservation of the Alaska-Chukotka polar bear population

10 June 2013

The document was approved following the fifth session of the Russia-U.S. Polar Bear Commission.


This Action Plan is expected to help determine the main habitat areas for this species, as well as high-priority research fields for ensuring rational population management, including by using traditional knowledge of indigenous people.


Russia is represented on the Commission by Amirkhan Amirkhanov, Deputy Head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources, while the U.S. is represented by Geoffrey Haskett, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Regional Director. The two officials said that the Commission’s work was one of the best examples of cooperation and partnership between the two countries.


Indigenous people are represented on the Commission by Jack Omelak, Executive Director of the Alaska Nanuuq Commission, and Sergei Kavri, who represents the indigenous people of the Chukotka Autonomous Area. Omelak and Kavri pointed out that the commission is expected to contribute to the conservation of the polar bear, as well as the Northern indigenous culture.


“In accordance with the statute on Russia’s Red Book of rare and endangered species, the book is reviewed and a new version is published every ten years. This initiative involves counting the number of animals for evaluating the Alaska-Chukotka polar bear population. The polar bear has been under government protection since 1957,” Rinat Gizatulin, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said.


The fifth session of the Commission was held on June 5 and 6, 2013, at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St Petersburg. The session was attended by representatives of government bodies and indigenous people of Russia and the U.S. committed to the cause of polar bear conservation. The event focused on furthering the implementation of an agreement on the conservation of the Alaska-Chukotka polar bear population, which inhabits the coasts of the Bering and Chukchi Seas of both countries.