Resolutions from the 12th meeting of the PBSG in Oslo, Norway 1997

Res#1-1997: Cooperative management of polar bear populations

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing the need to coordinate research on polar bear populations shared by more than one jurisdiction (Article VII); and,

Recognizing the benefits to polar bear research and management already derived from cooperative efforts and the sharing of information (Article VII); and,

Recognizing that recent cooperative management initiatives begun in some jurisdictions, also have shown promise to enhance effectiveness of management efforts; therefore

Concludes that development of sound conservation practices for shared populations requires systematic cooperation, including use of jointly collected research and management information to develop cooperative management agreements.

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Res#2-1997: Clarification of the need for special protection measures for female polar bears

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that the "Resolution on special protection measures" appended to the 1973 Agreement for the Conservation of Polar Bears urges a complete ban on hunting females with cubs;

Recognizing the requirement for sound conservation measures identified in the Agreement for the Conservation of Polar Bears; and,

Recognizing that the polar bear is a significant cultural, nutritional, and economic resource for local subsistence users; and,

Recognizing that adult females have relatively greater reproductive value compared to other sex and age groups; and,

Acknowledging that harvest management practices that accommodate the occasional take of dependent young for cultural reasons are consistent with sound conservation practices so long as the mother continues to be protected; therefore,

Recommends special protection for adult females and emphasizes that harvest management practices that select for males and young animals may aid in offering protection for adult females.

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Res#3-1997: Conservation consequences of native guided sport hunting under a strict quota system in Canada

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Noting that management of the polar bear harvest in Canada is based on the establishment of sustainable annual quotas for each population, research on population size, and demographic parameters; and,

Noting that in populations where native subsistence users guide non-resident sport hunters, bears taken on such hunts are not additive to, but rather comprise part of, the total allocated quota; and,

Noting that allocation of some parts of a quota to sport hunting causes fewer bears to be taken because not all sports hunts result in the taking of a bear, and unsuccessful tags allocated cannot be reused by anyone else; and,

Noting that compared to the subsistence hunt, a higher proportion of bears taken in the sports hunt are males, which provides an additional measure of protection to adult females; therefore,

Acknowledges that in accordance with the best available scientific information, the allocation of some fraction of an enforced sustainable quota to native guided sport hunting in Canada is not a conservation concern.

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Res#4-1997: Basic requirements for sound conservation practices

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that sound conservation practices for polar bears may vary among countries from total protection to sustainable harvesting; and,

Recognizing that the rights of local people to harvest polar bears is identified in the International Agreement for the Conservation of Polar Bears (Article I and Article III) provided this harvest is conducted according to sound conservation practices; and,

Noting that sound conservation practices for sustainable harvesting of polar bears requires accurate information on:

  1. the number, location, sex, and age of harvested animals, and
  2. geographic boundaries of polar bear populations, and
  3. population number and sex-age composition, and
  4. rates of birth and death for the population, therefore

Recommends that these data be collected for populations from which polar bears are harvested, and be used to regulate the number of animals harvested to sustainable levels.

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Res#5-1997: Uncertainty and sound conservation practices

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that there is uncertainty (variance) in estimates of polar bear population size, rates of sustainable harvest, and numbers taken; and,

Recognizing that the sizes and consequently the sustainable yields of some harvested populations are still unknown; and,

Recognizing that the harvest of some areas has not been systematically recorded; therefore

Recommends that management strategies and harvest levels remain conservative when the scientific data are few or suspect.

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Res#6-1997: Minimizing disturbance in polar bear concentration and denning areas

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that there is strong public interest in viewing free-ranging polar bears exhibiting natural behavior; and,

Noting that the viewing and photographing of polar bears has already become significant in areas where polar bears congregate; and,

Noting that there is strong interest in viewing and photographing female polar bears and their new-born cubs in maternity denning areas, therefore

Recommends that human activities, including research, industry, and tourism, be managed to minimize disturbance of polar bears in areas where they congregate and in maternity denning areas because excessive disturbance may have a negative impact upon polar bear survival.

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Res#7-1997: Coordinated international study on the levels and effects of radionuclides

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that radionuclide contamination in the vicinity of Novaya Zemlja Islands resulting from former Soviet military dumping in the past and ongoing and persisting sources from nuclear power generation in and flowing into the Kara Sea; and,

Recognizing the potential for deleterious impacts of such nuclear contaminants on polar bears and the arctic marine food chain; and,

Recognizing existing baseline information on radionuclide levels in polar bears is inadequate; and,

Recognizing that polar bears are consumed by humans in the circumpolar arctic; therefore

Recommends that a coordinated international study on the levels and effects of radionuclides be undertaken on polar bears throughout their range.

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