Russia bans hunting of baby harp seals

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In Danger: A harp seal pup.
In Danger: A harp seal pup.

Vladimir Radyuhin

MOSCOW: Russia has banned the hunting of baby harp seals in response to protests from ecologists and animal rights activists.

A partial ban on killing seal cubs till they turn one month old has been extended to protect seals under 12 months. Until now Russia allowed a six-week window in March-April to hunt for fluffy baby seals. Seals population in Russia’s White Sea region in the Arctic has dropped by a third in the past decade to about 2,00,000 as thawing Arctic ice shrinks their breeding grounds and hunting takes its toll, the Natural Resources Ministry said. Defenceless baby seals targeted for their highly valued snow-white fur are just clubbed to death by the thousand every spring. “This is a bloody business and it’s clear that it needs to be stopped,” Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last month after protests urging a halt to hunting of baby seals took place in 20 cities and towns across Russia.

Mr. Putin said hunters should be compensated for lost earnings. Russian minorities such as Pamors say that seal hunting is their main source of income.

The bloody business also flourishes in Canada, Denmark, Namibia and Norway.



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