Climate change has put polar bears on the brink, and hunting these animals to feed an international trade in their skins and parts will extinguish any chance they have of survival. Two thirds of the world’s rapidly diminishing polar bear population live in Canada but this is the only country where hunting remains legal. Hunting for trade is now on the rise, with skin prices increasing by 375% in the last three years. It is estimated that in a global population of 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears, around 700 to 800 are being killed yearly and the U.S. Geological Survey predicts we will lose two-thirds of the world’s polar bears by 2050. If these animals are to survive, now is the time to act. A solution to climate change is potentially decades away, but hunting is something we can stop now.
The United States, supported by The Russian Federation, has proposed a ban on the international trade in polar bear parts to CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
The next CITES meeting will take place in March 2013 where the ban will lie in the hands of the 176 countries participating in the convention. The EU voting block will decide this issue and the UK needs to lead them. Four years ago, despite public pressure, UK leadership voted against protection for polar bears. Please take action now and support the ban through the NRDC (Natural Resources Defence Council) petition.