Recommendations from the 5th meeting of the PBSG in St-Prex, Switzerland 1974


The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that the completion of current physiological research on the metabolic requirements of polar bears, free-roaming and in maternity dens, requires field application of a telemetry system to retransmit signals from implanted sensors;

Recognizing that an extremely valuable aspect of the conservation and management of polar bears will be facilitated by modelling physiological and ecological parameters;

Recognizing also that such a model would provide the basis for quantitative scientific assessment of the physiological stresses being experienced by denning and free ranging polar bears as a result of vehicle harassment and industrial exploration and development activities;

Recognizing also that the data are now available on the other parameters necessary to construct an ecophysiological model, such as the age structure of wild polar bear populations, caloric value of prey species, utilization of prey species, metabolic efficiency of polar bears, and the behaviour of wild polar bears;

Recognizing also that the development of this physiological expertise in polar bears will facilitate similar studies on this and other species by other nations at considerably less cost;

Recognizing also that the necessary facilities for such research are now in existence at Churchill, Manitoba, and that the baseline physiological research has now been completed;

Recommends most strongly, that completion of this metabolic physiology research by Dr. Nils ├śritsland be made possible by assured adequate study for a three year period.

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The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Whereas the Oslo Agreement on Conservation of Polar Bears, when ratified by the five polar bear nations - Canada, Denmark, Norway, United States, and USSR - will protect polar bears from hunting throughout much of their range, and control traffic and trade in polar bear skins; and,

Whereas polar bear skins are now so valuable that there may be incentive for nationals of countries not a Party to the Agreement to harvest polar bears in areas where they will be protected by Agreement or by means prohibited by the Agreement, or to deal illegally in traffic and trade of polar bear skins; and,

Whereas the Polar Bear Group is concerned that such harvesting and traffic and trade in skins could be detrimental to polar bear populations;

Now, therefore the Polar Bear Group recommends IUCN, after the Agreement is in effect, to take necessary steps to contact governments whose nationals might have an interest and capability in harvesting polar bears and dealing in the trade of skins, in particular, Britain, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic, Iceland, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden; inform them of the Agreement; and request that they take necessary steps to ensure that their nationals abide by provisions of the Agreement relating to harvesting of polar bears and traffic and trade in polar bear skins.

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