Polar bear advocates got some very good news on Sunday as the U.K.’s Minister of the Environment, Richard Benyon, announced that the U.K. is now “actively working with the U.S. and other countries for a ban on trading of polar bear pelts as we believe this will help safeguard the species.”
The United States, supported by the Russian Federation, has proposed outlawing the international commercial trade in polar bear parts. The proposal will be voted on at the next meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) this March. One of the keys to ensuring the adoption of the U.S. proposal is securing the support of the European Union. And one of the most important countries in the European Union is the U.K.
With its announcement, the U.K. joins other European Union countries which are also supporting the U.S. proposal, including Austria, Germany, and Poland. But the fight is far from over. A number of European countries still oppose the U.S. proposal and, globally, Canada is doing all it can to keep the profits from polar bear hunting flowing.
But today is good news and we should all be thanking the U.K. government for standing up for polar bears. Their support will make a difference.