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Russian Arctic reserve may save polar bears from extinction - WWF

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The creation of the Russian Arctic nature reserve could compensate for the damage to the dwindling polar bear population from global warming, the director of WWF-Russia said on Monday.

MOSCOW, June 15 (RIA Novosti) - The creation of the Russian Arctic nature reserve could compensate for the damage to the dwindling polar bear population from global warming, the director of WWF-Russia said on Monday.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed a decree on establishing the nature reserve on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, in the Arctic Ocean, earlier on Monday.

The reserve is expected to cover an area of more than 8 million hectares.

Speaking on the nature reserve, Putin said this is a "unique space with high biodiversity and high bioproductivity."

"This is essential for polar bears as there is less and less ice where a polar bear is used to hunting. This is why today is becoming a hard time for the Arctic," WWF-Russia Director Igor Chestin said.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, two thirds of the world's 25,000 polar bears could die by 2050, as the ice they use to hunt seals melts due to global warming.

"We hope that the polar bear population will be saved," Chestin said.

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