Pamela Anderson appeals to Putin over Canada seals
Ex-Baywatch star Pamela Anderson has appealed to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin to ban imports of baby seal pelts, a newspaper reported Friday.
The prime minister's apparent "fondness" for animals prompted Anderson's plea, the spokeswoman for animal rights group PETA wrote in a letter cited by the Izvestia daily.
"My friends at PETA and I were happy to see a recent slideshow spotlighting your fondness for animals," the Canadian actress said.
"Since you've already banned the slaughter of baby seals in Russia, I'm writing to ask that you also ban seal-pelt imports from my native Canada, where almost all seals who are killed are three months of age or younger."
While Putin has not yet seen the letter, he is "very sensitive" to this cause, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the paper.
Russia last year banned the hunting of baby whitecoat seals after Putin condemned the "bloody practice".
Better known in the West for pushing a muscular foreign policy and tightening control over Russia's politics, Putin has shown compassion for wildlife and nature.
He voiced concern over the fate of polar bears when he helped scientists put a tracker on a 230-kilo (506-pound) bear on an Arctic trip in April. Last October he was shown cuddling a tiger cub he received as a birthday gift.
Many countries have banned the large-scale hunting of whitecoat seals following protests by environmental groups.
Harp seals, prized for their snow-white fur, are still prey to poachers and hunting off the coasts of Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia.
© 2010 AFP