Russia Council launches, celebrates key conservation victory

The first meeting of IFAW’s Russia Council, a group focused on advancing IFAW’s work to protect keystone species in Russia, including the Amur tiger, western gray whale, harp seal, Russian brown bear and saiga antelope, took place October 13.Pamela Anderson, Vladimir Pozner and other luminaries were on hand at the inaugural meeting of IFAW’s Russia Council meeting in London today, when IFAW Russia Director Masha Vorontsova shared news of a key conservation victory in Russia earlier this month.

After the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment unexpectedly posted a proposal to allow animal snares, IFAW, Greenpeace and scientists from the Russian Academy of Science launched a fast-response advocacy effort to mobilize public opposition to the draft regulation. In addition to allowing snares, which can severely injure or kill endangered species in addition to intended hunting targets, the proposed changes would also have allowed the winter bear hunt, a cruel practice involving the killing of bears while they hibernate. “Snares are widely recognized as a tool of poachers,” said Vorontsova, “and they have been completely banned in Russia since the Soviet era.”

The author giving a presentation at the launch of the Russia Council in London.The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment posted the draft regulation on their website, which sought to change existing Hunting Regulation No. 512 of November 16, 2010, including a ban on both snares and the winter bear hunt, bans for which IFAW conducted an extensive advocacy campaign that year. In response to the rapid public awareness efforts earlier this month, the public vote on the website of the Ministry of Natural Resources recognized three votes in favor of implementing the changes and more than 1,800 against. The Ministry withdrew the proposal from circulation on October 1.

IFAW CEO Azzedine Downes and South Asia Director Vivek Menon were on hand to kick off the first meeting of IFAW’s Russia Council, a group focused on advancing IFAW’s work to protect keystone species in Russia, including the Amur tiger, western gray whale, harp seal, Russian brown bear and saiga antelope. In addition to announcing the withdrawal of the proposed hunting changes, Masha Vorontsova also noted that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin made headlines today calling for tougher wildlife law enforcement and stricter penalties for poaching.

Vivek Menon and Pamela Anderson at the launch of the Russia Council in London.

IFAW’s Russia Council members include Pamela Anderson, Yulia Aug, Jon Hines, Maria Kapitsa, Ilya Lagutenko, Sharon Miller, Roger Munnings, Dulce Murphy, Masha Phillimore Slonim, and Vladimir Pozner.

--AW

 

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