Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi has called for intensifying polar bear conservation measures.
“Unless special measures are taken to conserve this strong but vulnerable animal, its population may shrink by at least 30 percent at best or 60 percent at worst in the next 45−50 years (three generations),” Mr Donskoi said.
The polar bear is the only land mammal whose life is largely linked to the floating ice of the Arctic Ocean. This predator has been classified as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and has a special status in some national environmental laws.
Expert estimates put the current number of polar bears at 20,000−25,000. Polar bears can only attack their key prey, seals, from the ice. Therefore, apart from human interference, the polar bear population is severely affected by climate change in the Arctic.