Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate to Allow Polar Bear Imports
A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would allow the import of polar bears already taken by hunters.
Senator Mike Crapo (R- ID) introduced S. 1395 on July 6. This bill is the same as legislation introduced in the US House of Representatives in February by Representative Don Young (R- AK). It represents a solution to the prohibition on importing existing trophies – those animals already taken by hunters who already had hunting permits before the ban became law.
Legal confusion over the existing trophies ensued when the U.S. Department of Interior formally listed polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in May of 2008. Although, S. 1395 does not change prohibitions on importing future trophies, it does allow for bears already taken to be imported.
Representative Young introduced a second bill, HR 1055, in the U.S. House that would provide a permanent remedy to the issue by amending the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to allow for future trophies to be imported to the United States as long as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agrees that the hunted population is healthy.
Under the Polar Bear’s new designation as a threatened species under the ESA, no animals can be brought into the country. The US Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) opposed the listing because many populations of polar bears are actually thriving and increasing. The endangered species listing was politically driven, based on a 50 year projection of what could happen as a result of global warming. It is in effect, a pre-emptive listing, and it opens the door for additional restrictions without firm scientific basis.
“Sen. Crapo’s bill won’t solve the problem associated with the ESA designation of polar bears, but it is helps remedy an injustice done to hunters who got caught in the political cross fire,” stated USSA president and CEO Bud Pidgeon. “We thank both the Senator and Congressman Young for sticking their necks out for sportsmen again.”
Take Action- Sportsmen should consider contacting their senators and representatives and urge their support for these bills.
Make sure to let your legislators know that these bills prevent law abiding hunters from being stuck in the middle of a political battle that doesn’t even involve them. To find your legislators’ contact information, please visit the Legislative Action Center.