Clutch Time for Polar Bears: Will the United States Step Up?

polar bear on ice (photo by rubyblossom via flickr)

Things are moving fast in the fight to protect polar bears from the international commercial fur trade. 

Last Friday, in a major development, the Russian Federation officially confirmed that if the United States submits a proposal to increase polar bear protections under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Russia will support it.

You can see a copy of a letter to one of our partners in this fight, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, confirming the Russian position, below (translation at the bottom of this post).

The lack of support from other polar bear “range states” (ie., states where polar bears live) has long been a barrier to achieving increased protections for polar bears.  This diplomatic breakthrough came after intense lobbying by NRDC and our coalition partners in both Russia and the United States.  But it will all be for naught if the Obama Administration does not officially submit a proposal to protect the bear at the next CITES meeting.

The deadline for submitting proposals is just days away—October 4th.

Please take few moments and ask the President to continue to show environmental leadership and protect the world’s polar bears from international trade. 



Addressed to M.N.Vorontsova

Director of the Representative office of IFAW in Russia

Ministry of Natural Resources had considered the letter sent by you on 09.29.2012 Registered 04/09/12, with regards of transfer of Polar Bears into CITES App.1 for confirmation of the position of the Russian Federation at the upcoming in 2013 Conference of the CITES parties and would like to inform you on the following: by conclusion of the interagencies consultations, in case the US will submit the Proposal of uplisting Polar Bear into CITES Appendix 1 for the consideration of the Conference of the parties to CITES, Russian Federation will support the proposal


N,R, Inamov

Director of the Department of International Cooperation

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