The vote on a US proposal to end the international commercial trade in polar bear parts will take place tomorrow in Bangkok, Thailand. The US proposal is before the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and is opposed by Canada, the only country where polar bears are found that still allows the killing of the animals to supply global demand for polar bear parts (skins, claws, teeth, skulls).
The US delegation to CITES has been headed all week by USFWS Director, Dan Ashe, who has been rallying support fo the US proposal.
The proposal has gained Russian support, where polar bears are threatened by illegal killing to supply the international market, and the support of other countries around the globe. Nonetheless, securing protections for polar bears by banning their global trade won't be easy, as such a ban requires two-thirds suppport from all countries voting at CITES.
Some countries have lined up agains the proposal, such as Canada, which continues to deny the best available science on projected impacts to polar bears from climate change (more than two-thirds of their total population will be gone by 2050) and allows the unsustainable killing of polar bears against the advice of polar bear specialists.
The vote on the US proposal, which could once and for all ban the global profit-driven trade in polar bears is mere hours away. NRDC, working with a coalition of other organizations, has been doing all it can to ensure passage of the US proposal. I'll send out a report as soon as the vote's results come in. Wish us luck.