No ban

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species won’t ban international trade in polar bear parts.

The Americans argued that the sale of polar bear skins is compounding the loss of the animals’ sea ice habitat due to climate change. There are projections that polar bear numbers, estimated at 20,000 to 25,000, could decline by two-thirds by 2050 due to habitat loss in the Arctic.

Among the CITES member countries that voted on Thursday, 48 were in favour of the U.S. motion, 62 voted against and 11 abstained. The decision pleased Canadian officials at the meeting, especially those from Nunavut, where most of Canada’s polar bears are located.

“It was quite unbelievable, but at the same time, we were very happy. It seems like all the pressure was taken off,” Gabriel Nirlungayuk, director of wildlife with the Inuit land-claim organization Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., told CBC News from Doha on Thursday.


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