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U.S. and Russia Pledge to Work Together for Wildlife Conservation

U.S. and Russia Pledge to Work Together for Wildlife Conservation The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the completion of a work plan for cooperation on wildlife conservation activities with the Russian Federation through 2012. The work plan will guide bilateral conservation efforts throughout the year.

“I am thrilled to see our long-standing cooperation with Russia moving forward,” said Teiko Saito, Assistant Director for International Affairs. “This new work plan will advance cooperation to conserve a wide array of shared species, including migratory birds, marine mammals and unique shared ecosystems.”

As neighboring countries, the U.S. and Russia share populations of wildlife, many of which have economic, cultural and subsistence importance in addition to their ecosystem role and intrinsic value. Biologists engage in a number of cooperative conservation activities, including information sharing; joint scientific studies on the ground, in the air, on and below the sea; and the use of satellite technology.

Russians and Americans have long maintained a dialogue on wildlife issues. The very first international treaty to address wildlife conservation was the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911. A more recent example is the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission, which met for the first time in 2009, and includes both governmental and Native representatives.

“In maintaining a robust dialogue with Russian wildlife managers the Service’s Wildlife Without Borders program, which provides crucial assistance to key species and regions around the world, is helping us in our efforts to manage wild populations of polar bears, migratory birds and walruses,” said Geoff Haskett, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director for Alaska.

To learn more about the U.S.-Russia Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection and to read the 2011-2012 “Area V” Work Plan, visit the Wildlife Without Borders, Russia program webpage, http://www.fws.gov/international/dic/regionalprograms/russia/usrussia.html. Wildlife Without Borders also provides support through grant funding for the conservation of tigers, saiga antelope and other species and habitats in Russia.