Legislation Allows Pre-2008 Canadian Polar Bear Trophies Into U.S.

The U.S. House passed a bill Wednesday that included a provision allowing some 41 American sport hunters to bring polar bear trophies home from Canada.

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It’s an issue Alaska Congressman Don Young has been working on for five years. Young, on the House floor, said the animals were shot in Canada, before the bear was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 2008.

“Keep in (mind the) fact these are dead polar bears in storage hunted legally, under the premise of Canadian and United States law,” Young said.

Young, an avid hunter, is an ardent critic of the Endangered Species Act, but he says this just helps a pair of Alaskans and a few dozen other American hunters whose trophies have been sitting in cold storage for years.

He says the importation would send about $41,000 to a U.S.-Russian polar bear conservation fund.

The issue has drawn limited opposition in the past, but this week the Obama Administration said it has no objection.

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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska’s congressional delegation, federal agency decisions that shape life in the 49th state, money in politics and elections. She has deep roots in Alaska and this is her third stint in Washington, a city she has grown to love.

She was born in Anchorage and is a West High graduate. She studied political science at the University of Washington and has an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia. During graduate school, she moved to Washington to intern as a D.C. correspondent. But for her first real journalism job, she moved back to Alaska to work at the Homer News. She was there for three years before taking a job at the Anchorage Daily News. Over the course of nine years in Anchorage, she covered City Hall, courts, state politics, and Native and rural affairs.

Then, in April 2001, she moved back to Washington to work in McClatchy Newspaper’s D.C. bureau as a correspondent for the Anchorage paper. She stayed in the position for five years.

She took a year off for a journalism fellowship at the University of Colorado in Boulder, then freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio.

When a vacancy occurred in APRN’s one-person Washington bureau, she jumped at the opportunity. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013.

lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz