18
March
2010
|
01:00 PM
America/New_York

New safeguards for polar bears voted down at CITES meeting

Defenders of Wildlife fears trade will lead to continued population declines for species threatened by climate change

(03/18/2010) -

New safeguards for polar bears voted down at CITES meeting

Defenders of Wildlife fears trade will lead to continued population declines for species threatened by climate change

  • The United States proposal would have banned the international commercial trade in polar bear parts and products
  • During debate, virtually all parties agreed with the serious threat posed to the polar bear’s survival by climate change

DOHA, Qatar (March 18, 2010) – Defenders of Wildlife expressed its disappointment today over the decision by the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) not to give greater protection to the polar bear. The following is a statement by Peter Jenkins, Defenders’ Director of International Conservation.

“We were proud the United States made this ground-breaking proposal, the first attempt within CITES to clearly confront the looming threat of global warming and its impact on an iconic animal like the polar bear. The U.S. effort has already stimulated more protections to be put in place by Canada in terms of a reduced harvest quota for a key bear population.

“From now on, the Parties to CITES will be taking a much closer look at the connections between mortality of animals due to climate change and mortality due to commercial demand. While climate change is the major threat to polar bears, trade exacerbates the situation.  We will continue to work within CITES to stop this unsustainable luxury-item trade in polar bear skins and parts.”

Defenders of Wildlife is working to conserve the polar bear within CITES in coalition with numerous other conservation and humane-oriented non-profit groups, including:

  • Animal Welfare Institute
  • Eurogroup for Animals
  • Humane Society International
  • International Fund for Animal Welfare
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • ProWildlife
  • Species Survival Network

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.  With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come.  For more information, visit www.defenders.org.

Read an AP story on the CITES vote.

Learn more about Defenders’ work in international wildlife trade issues.

Contact:

Peter T. Jenkins, Director of International Conservation, pjenkins@defenders.org

Erin McCallum, 202-772-3217, emccallum@defenders.org

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Contact(s):

Erin McCallum, (202) 772-3217