A coup in court for polar bears
This past week a Federal Appeals Court upheld the 2008 decision by the U.S. Government to list the polar bear as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
The ruling maintains the current ban on the import of sport-hunted polar bear trophies from Canada.
The threatened listing has come under attack from several pro-hunting organizations who are attempting to circumvent the law in order to bring the heads, hides and other polar bear parts back into the U.S. IFAW worked with a number of groups to intervene in the case and defend the government’s decision to list polar bears and close down the trade in polar bear hunting trophies.
This is a major achievement in the fight to protect the iconic species, which faces staggering decreases in populations due to mounting threats including climate change, melting sea ice, habitat degradation, pollution and hunting.
The decision could not have come at a better time. I applaud the Court’s ruling from afar, as I meet with leaders in Thailand at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to push for greater protections for polar bears through a ban on international commercial trade in their parts.
Polar bears are in dire straits. Any and all protections we can provide both in the U.S. and on the global front will help ensure a longer, brighter future for this iconic species.