ALASKA – The U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission to lift the ban on killing polar bears for the first time in 50 years. Infuriating. – Global Animal

Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A joint commission meeting in Alaska recommended lifting the ban on harvesting polar bears for traditional and cultural purposes in Russia.

The U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission met this week in Anchorage to determine the potential for a planned harvest by Native peoples in Alaska and Chukotka in Russia who subsist on the bears.

The harvest would be limited to up to 58 polar bears a year, with no more than 19 females.

The move would end a 50-year ban on the Russian side. It is expected to improve monitoring and decrease poaching in that country.

In Alaska, a team will develop a plan that will be presented at the next meeting of the commission in June 2011.

Alaska Natives harvested an average of 38 polar bears a year from 2004 to 2008.