IFAW has a video detailing the 5,000+ bears hunted every year in Russia. Many are killed by American and European trophy hunters, who pay as much as $1,500 to shoot brown bears for trophys. The video details the release of orphan bear cubs into the wild, once they have been raised to sufficient age by the Russian Bear Orphanage. Efforts like this continue to restore the population, despite heavy hunting of brown bears as trophies and for their pelts. The Russian Duma is considering new laws that would ban shooting of brown bears in the winter. But with brown bear pelts fetching almost $2,000, it is unlikely the laws would completely stop the hunting. According to IFAW, in some areas of Russia, and in Western and Eastern Europe, brown bears are already extinct. The bears being hunted in Russia are from the last healthy population in the world.
10/20 - Another Bear Hunting Headline
Vodka Bear Hunt Investigated
October 20, 2006 12:00am - Russian hunt organisers keen to make the visiting King of Spain's chances of killing a bear easier reportedly provided a tame one drunk on vodka.
A spokesman for Vyacheslav Pozgalev, governor of the northwestern Vologda region said: "The governor has ordered a working group set up...to check the facts published in local press about the killing of the bear."
National paper Kommersant carried a letter from Vologda's deputy chief of regional hunting resources management, Sergei Starostin, which accused hunt organisers of plying a captive bear named "Mitrofan" with vodka-drenched honey and then forcing him from a cage to be shot by Spain's King Juan Carlos I.
"His majesty Juan Carlos killed Mitrofan with a single shot," Mr Starostin wrote in his letter.
Russian hunt organisers are not complete strangers to such tactics. Keen hunter and former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev had trouble with his aim in his later years.
Some of the animals he liked to stalk were either tied to trees or plied with booze.
Royal Row Over Russian Bear Fate
A Russian official has claimed that a tame bear was plied with honey and vodka before being shot dead by King Juan Carlos of Spain. The official alleged that the king had killed the bear during a private visit to Russia earlier this year. "It's not hunting - it's murder," Sergei Starostin, deputy head of Vologda region's hunting resources department told AFP news agency.
A Spanish monarchy spokesman said the claims were "ridiculous". "We have no comment to make because this story is totally ridiculous and the source is sensationalist," a palace spokesman told AP news agency.
The palace said it would not confirm or deny that the king had been on a hunting trip during his visit to Russia.