NTI Disappointed in US Proposal to Stop International trade of Polar Bears
Released | October 5, 2012 | Print this article
(October 4, 2012 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. Vice-President James Eetoolook today expressed NTI’s disappointment in the United States’ proposal to uplist polar bears from Appendix II to Appendix I under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The proposal will be voted on in March, 2013, in Thailand by 176 countries during the CITES Conference of the Parties.
This is the second time the US government proposed to uplist polar bears. The first was defeated in 2010 because the international community understood the trade of polar bears was not a threat to their survival and the proposal did not therefore meet the criteria for an Appendix I listing.
“The American government is using the threat of climate change to justify banning the international trade of polar bear parts, while utterly failing to do anything to reduce their own activities that make their country one of the world’s largest contributors to climate change,” said Eetoolook. “NTI does not support the proposal to list the polar bear under CITES Appendix I. The proposal threatens and undermines the polar bear management system that has been in place in Canada for the last 40 years.”
In an attempt to lobby American Congress and Senate last month, NTI, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Inuvialuit Game Council, Government of Nunavut and Government of Canada officials travelled to Washington D.C. to educate American politicians on the reality and health of Canadian polar bear populations, and to demonstrate how Inuit harvesting practices are done in a sustainable and responsible manner. Despite meetings that Eetoolook described as productive and positive, the American government forged ahead with their campaign of misinformation and proposed to uplist the bears, a category reserved for the world’s most endangered species like tigers and panda bears, which may result in a prohibition of international trade.
Eetoolook said NTI is working with the international community to ensure polar bears continue to be responsibly managed.