July 5, 2021

President Donald Trump has ordered a ban on all imports of polar bears from South Africa.

The move is aimed at curbing the export of polar bear parts to South Africa amid concerns over their health risks.

The United States and its partners have been tracking the spread of the disease, which has killed about 500 people since being detected in southern Russia in late December.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday that the ban will apply to all of South Africa’s polar bear products, including the “salmon pellet” and “barreled fish” that are popular in South Africa, as well as the “barrel” that is used in many South African fish dishes.

The Fish and Game Department also will halt the export and purchase of the polar bear carcass from other countries, including China, South Korea, Japan and Thailand.

The ban was issued in response to a request from South African officials who said their country has been experiencing an increase in the disease and that the carcasses have become the source of the most cases.