This guest post was written by Sharon Seltzer, one of the founders of the animal rescue group, Heaven Can Wait Sanctuary, for Care2 Causes.
Hunters in Russia will no longer be allowed to wake sleeping bears from their dens during winter hibernation and shoot them because of a new law enacted on March 16.The news was reported by an animal rights group who has been advocating for this legislation since 1995.
For the past 16 years International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has campaigned to end the cruel winter den hunt. The practice left infant bear cubs orphaned and most would quickly die of starvation or freeze to death.
IFAW rescued as many of the cubs they could reach. The group rehabilitated them and released them back into the wild. Their rehabilitation center in Bubonitsy, Tver region successfully released more than 150 cubs.
"The Rules of the Hunt legislation is a tremendous step forward for animal welfare in Russia and reflects the opinion of the Russian people that bears should be protected from this sort of thing," said IFAW Russia director, Dr. Maria Vorontsova.
IFAW gathered more than 400,000 signatures against the winter dent hunt and convinced the Ministry of Natural Resources that the Russian public was against this type of cruel hunt.
In addition, hunters will no longer be allowed to kill bears that are less than one year-old and females with cubs under one year.
Sadly the new law is not a complete victory for bears. There will still be a hunting season for brown bears and Asiatic black bears during the last few weeks in late spring and late summer.
Read more about bears:
Polar Bear Spy Cam Eaten By ... a Polar Bear! Plus Mother & Cub Cuteness (Video)
Black Bear, Bummed Out By Climate Change, Falls Asleep In Backyard - In February
Polar Bear Observed to Swim Continuously for 9 Days Over 426 Miles