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FLORA AND FAUNA
Minnesota mulls wolf hunting moratorium
by Staff Writers
Minneapolis (UPI) Feb 22, 2013


Rare sun bears found abandoned in Cambodia factory
Phnom Penh (AFP) Feb 22, 2013 - Two rare Malayan sun bears have been rescued in Cambodia after being discovered in an abandoned garment factory, a zoo official said Friday.

The male and female bears were rescued by officials from the Phnom Tamao Zoo and the Wildlife Alliance, who found them in the factory in southern Kandal province last week, according to zoo director Nhek Rattanak Pich.

"The bears were left with no food and no one to care for them after the factory owner fled the country," the Wildlife Alliance said on its website.

The group said local authorities had called them after the bears were found in purpose-built cages at the factory, which closed without notice in December.

The bears are now being cared for at the zoo, its director said, adding that he did not know why they had been kept at the factory.

The Malayan sun bear is found primarily in Southeast Asia and is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Bears are among many species that have been decimated by wildlife trafficking in Asia, which is fuelled in large part by China's massive appetite for exotic meats and animal parts for traditional medicine.

A bill introduced this week in Minnesota would prohibit hunting and trapping wolves in the state for at least five years, lawmakers said.

Hunting would be allowed to resume after the end of the moratorium only if population management was "deemed necessary" and other means for controlling the wolf population are explored, the bill's supporters said.

"The people of Minnesota don't want the wolves hunted," the bill's chief sponsor, Majority Whip Chris Eaton, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "We have bipartisan support."

A total of 413 wolves were killed during the 2012 hunting and trapping season, the state's first since gray wolves were taken off the federal protection list last year. Another 299 were killed last year to protect livestock or pets.

"I have a real concern about the sustainability of the gray wolf with that kind of a hunting season," Eaton said.

State and federal wildlife biologists have said the wolf population could withstand such losses and the population is expected to remain steady at about 3,000, the Star Tribune reported.

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