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More Than 180,000 Sign Petition Against New Russian Law Allowing 'Scientific' Hunts Of Endangered Animals

Snow leopards are one of the endangered animals that activists are concerned might be threatened by the new Russian law.

More than 180,000 people have signed an online petition opposing a Russian law enacted this month that allows for the hunting of animals on the endangered species list.

The law says that in order to monitor, regulate reproduction rates, and prevent mass diseases, hunting such animals is allowed "for scientific purposes."

It came into effect on August 1.

Environment activists have argued against the law for months, saying the new regulation will pave the way to illegal hunting and poaching, citing previous cases when officials in some Russian regions hunted endangered wildlife.

Their main concerns are about such endangered species as snow leopards, polar bears, Siberian tigers, saiga antelopes, and others that inhabit Russia.

The "scientific research" rationale echoes a longtime argument by Japanese officials that has allowed the continuing hunting of endangered whales in protected waters despite the meat from such hunts appearing in food shops.

The signature drive protesting the new Russian legislation continues online.