New Facts and Additional Information Supporting the CoP16 Polar Bear Proposal Submitted by the United States of America

Fact Sheet
November 06, 2012

The United States proposes to transfer the polar bear, Ursus maritimus, from Appendix II to Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), on the basis that the polar bear is affected by trade and threatened with extinction because of a projected marked decline in the population size in the wild. This paper summarizes new scientific findings and additional evidence since 2009, which underpin Russian Federation and U.S. support for uplisting since the last Convention was held. Notably, the reasons why polar bears meet the criteria for Appendix I listing are (1) they are a species that has declined in the wild, and is characterized by future declines, leading to widespread extirpation, projected on the basis of a decrease in area and quality of habitat; and (2) they are a species affected by commercial trade, which overharvesting is helping supply.