NR 10-02 TRA ENG – For Immediate Release
(January 21, 2010 – Rankin Inlet, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Vice-President of Finance Raymond Ningeocheak said NTI supports the recommendation released yesterday to reject the American proposal to list polar bears as endangered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The recommendation was issued by Trade Records Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce (TRAFFIC). This means trade in polar bear products in Nunavut could continue under the current management and control framework.
“Inuit are reporting that polar bear populations are increasing. The TRAFFIC recommendation indicates there is no marked increase in the trade of polar bears, and that trade is not detrimental to their survival. The proposed American ban won’t protect bears from the negative impact of climate change. It will, however, adversely affect Inuit culturally and economically,” said Ningeocheak.
“Inuit need to be more involved in information gathering and making decisions about wildlife in Nunavut. When scientists listen to us and understand what is actually happening here, there will be less confusion and misunderstanding about the current status of polar bears,” he said.
Countries around the world will vote on the proposed CITES listing in March. Ningeocheak said until that time, NTI will continue to collect information about polar bears through its polar bear hotline to educate the voting countries about the reality of polar bear populations.
TRAFFIC was established in 1976 to monitor wildlife trade, and works in close co-operation with the World Wildlife Fund, World Conservation Union, and CITES.