International Forum on Conservation of Polar Bears Must Address Climate Change and Unsustainable Trade

Carbon dioxide concentrations reached 400ppm this year, following a record-low Arctic sea-ice extent in 2012. At the same time, demand for polar bear parts has continued to skyrocket with the maximum hide price almost doubling from $12,514 to $22,000 since just last year.

So the International Forum on Conservation of Polar Bears and Jubilee Meeting of the 1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears – which will take place in Moscow over the next three days – couldn’t come at a more critical time.

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                                               (C) Fish and Wildlife Service

During this meeting, the Parties to this multilateral treaty – Canada, Denmark, Norway, the United States, and Russia – plan to reaffirm their commitment to the sustainable conservation of polar bears and the effective management of polar bear populations.  

What this means exactly is a bit unclear, but it is critical that the Parties address how they plan to tackle the biggest threats to polar bear survival—climate change and the unsustainable commercial trade in polar bear parts—in the years to come.

With scientists predicting that two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will be lost within the next 45 years, the countries polar bears call home must seize upon every available opportunity to help these majestic creatures. We hope that, over the next few days, they do just that and we’ll be keeping you updated!

About the Authors

Elly Pepper

Wildlife Advocate, Land & Wildlife program

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