Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic October 05, 2012 - 1:34 pm

ICC, ITK pan U.S. proposal for international trade ban in polar bear trophies

"I can only express my disappointment with the U.S. government's intention"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Inuit Circumpolar Council have expressed “strong disappointment” in a proposal by the United States to seek an international trade ban on polar bear trophies.

The U.S. has proposed to up-list polar bear to Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, when its member states meet next March 2013 in Thailand.

The deadline for CITES proposal submissions was Oct. 3, with CITES issuing its notification of the proposals received from its member states on Oct. 5.

The proposed up-listing of polar bears, also opposed by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., would put polar bears in a category reserved for the world’s most immediately endangered species like tigers, gorillas, jaguars, rhinos and panda bears, which are threatened with extinction.

If the U.S. proposal to up-list polar bears on to CITES’ Appendix I passes, it could result in a ban on all international trade of polar bear trophies.

“I can only express my disappointment with the U.S. government’s intention once again to list polar bear onto Appendix I,” said ITK president Terry Audla, who recently travelled to Washington D.C., with representatives from NTI, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Inuvialuit Game Council, the Government of Nunavut and the federal government, to lobby against the proposal.

“We clearly demonstrated the sustainability of our harvesting practices and wildlife management measures and we came equipped with the latest trade data that shows that the levels are well within the limits accepted by the international community,” Audla said in a joint ITK-ICC release on Oct. 5. “We also discussed our willingness to act over the past 40 years to make this a successful co-management process.”

ICC also plans to continue pointing these facts out “to whomever we can and garner the support of the international community for our positive achievements while facing head-on the many challenges of living in an Arctic environment,” said ICC-Canada’s president Duane Smith.

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