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Agreement on Conservation of Polar Bears

Document type
Field of application
Nov 15, 1973
IUCN (ID: TRE-000041)
Title (French)

Accord relatif à la conservation des ours blancs

Title (Other)

Übereinkommen zum Schutz der Eisbären

Place of adoption
English, Russian
Entry into force
May 26, 1976
Wild species & ecosystems
Wild fauna Traditional rights/customary rights Protected animal species Research Wildlife products International agreement-text Biodiversity Hunting/capture Management/conservation Endangered species

Objectives: To achieve protection of the polar bear as a significant resource of the Arctic region through further conservation and management measures. Summary of provisions: (a) In general, the taking of polar bears to be prohibited (art. 1), except for bona fide scientific or conservation purposes, or to prevent disturbance of the management of other living resources, or by local people using traditional methods in accordance with the laws of the party concerned(art. 3); (b) Parties to take action to preserve the ecosystem of which the polar bears are part (art.2); (c) Parties to conduct research into management and conservation of the species, coordinate such research and exchange of information (art. 7). (Source: UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment, 2005)


The Convention prohibits the taking of polar bears, except for scientific purposes or to prevent the disruption of the management of living resources. There are also provisions making exceptions for aboriginal taking and the taking by nationals of some States Parties (not necessarily aborigines) by traditional methods. The skins of bears so taken are not be made available for commercial purposes. The States Parties are obliged to protect the ecosystems of which the polar bears form a part, especially denning and feeding sites and the migratory patterns. They are also obliged to manage populations on the best data available. Bears are not to be taken from aircraft or from large motorised vessels. The Convention prohibits the export, import or trading of bears taken in contravention of the Convention. States Parties are to conduct national research programmes on polar bears, with special reference to their conservation and management. They are to coordinate with other States Parties research relating to migratory populations and exchange information.

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Countries Entry into force Ratification * Simple signature
Russian Federation
United States of America

* [1] Ratification [2] Accession/approbation [3] Acceptance/approval [4] Succession [5] Consent to be bound [6] Definite signature

Other references

5 records related to this treaty. View literature