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    Russian scientist calls for action to prevent polar bear extinction

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    Action must be taken to prevent the extinction of the polar bear, under threat from human activity and global warming, deputy director of State Natural Reserve Wrangel Island said at an international Arctic forum in Moscow on Wednesday.

    Action must be taken to prevent the extinction of the polar bear, under threat from human activity and global warming, deputy director of State Natural Reserve Wrangel Island said at an international Arctic forum in Moscow on Wednesday.

    "If policies and attitudes to the polar bear...do not change, there is a real possibility that we will loose this species," Nikita Ovsyannikov said.

    The polar bear was on the brink of extinction in the 1970s but an international agreement in 1973 helped to save the critically endangered animal, Ovsyannikov said.

    The polar bear's living space has shrunk substantially in the past few years and the animal has been forced to find food on dry land as the pack ice melts, the scientist continued.

    Ovsyannikov called for the adoption of another international document regulating human activity in the Arctic.

    There are from 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears in the wild, including up to 7,000 in Russia. Russian experts say poachers kill from 300 to 700 bears annually.

    The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue, running September 22-23, is hosted by the Russian Geographic Society. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who heads the RGS Board of Trustees, is expected to attend.

    RIA Novosti is the official media partner of the forum.

    MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti)

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