On October 5th, 2011, the House Natural Resources Committee passed Rep. Don Young's (R- Alaska) bill to allow the importation of legally hunted polar bear trophies (H.R. 991) by voice vote. H.R. 991 would allow Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to issue import permits for polar bear trophies legally taken in sport hunts in Canada, prior to listing of world-wide polar bear populations under the Endangered Species Act.
On May 15, 2008, the Department of the Interior listed the world-wide polar bear population as a threatened species. Due to the Endangered Species Act listing, polar bears are automatically listed as depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits the importation of hunting trophies for a depleted species. On the date of this listing, approximately 41 hunters had successfully hunted a polar bear from an approved population in Canada. H.R. 991 will reunite these legal hunters with their prized trophies.