The Guardian reports a bitter fight at CITES, the world's biggest wildlife summit, ended last week in the defeat of a US/Russia joint proposal to outlaw the trade.
|Polar bears: yea, exterminate 'em all!|
Canada (the same country that allowed the clubbing of fur seals) says it already has strict rules to ensure sustainable hunting, and it dismissed the proposal as based more on emotion than science. [Hmmm, Canada must have been singing from the Japanese whalers' songbook!!!]
Inuit delegates (representing Canada's indigenous peoples) cried: "A ban would affect our ability to buy the necessities of life, to clothe our children. We have to protect our means of putting food on the table and selling polar bear hides enables us to support ourselves." About 600 polar bears bears are killed each year in Canada, some in traditional Inuit hunts and some as trophies for foreign hunters. Half the bears are then exported as skins or other body parts.
Most nations accept the polar bear population is declining. But CITES rules require the projected decline to be more than 50% over three generations (that's 45 years in the polar bear case). The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, an official adviser on science to CITES, says it's most likely polar bears would decline by 30% in the next 45 years... [Oh. So that's all ok then, right?]
UK and a large number of other EU nations supported the proposed ban, but Denmark (with its historic links to Greenland) did not. This meant the EU, which votes as a bloc, abstained.
The result: 38 countries voted in favour of the proposal, 42 against, and 46 abstaining - some countries did not attend to vote.
Greenland, which has had a voluntary ban on polar bear exports since 2008, said: "If we want to ensure the long term conservation of the polar bear, the focus should be on the countries which are emitters and polluters. Climate change is the real threat."
Yeup, everyone blames everyone else...looking in the mirror can be a very painful experience.