The IFAW gathered more than 400,000 signatures against Russian winter den hunting and notified the Ministry of Natural Resources that the public wanted this kind of hunting to end.
As a result, from 16th March new hunting legislation was enacted and should end the cruel practice of rousing bears from their dens during winter hibernation then shooting them – often leaving tiny bear cubs orphaned and to die of starvation or freeze to death.
The new law also reduces the hunting season for bears and specifically excludes the winter season. It is a shame that brown bears can still be hunted during the periods 1st April to 31st May and 1st August 1 to 30 November, and Asiatic black bears from 1st August to 30th November, but the legislation is a step closer to banning bear hunting; it is now also illegal to hunt bears less than one year old and females with cubs under one.
Since 1995, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has campaigned to end the winter den hunt and to rescue, rehabilitate and release orphan bear cubs back into the wild. To date, IFAW has successfully released more than 150 cubs from its rehabilitation centre in Bubonitsy.