Polar bears could lose two-thirds of their population by the end of the century. Due to climate change, the distance they need to swim from shore to sea ice in open water leads to death by drowning. In addition to the dangers caused by pollution and loss of habitat, there is another threat.
Every year, an average of 441 bears are killed for trophies and body parts for the international commercial trade. All other countries with polar bear populations – USA, Russia, Denmark (Greenland) and Norway – have banned international trade in their countries, as they view this traffic as a very significant threat to polar bears. In the last five years, prices for polar bear pelts at Canadian auctions have more than doubled from $2,079 in 2007 to $5,211 in 2012. The number of polar bears being killed has grown alongside the price for skins.
On March 3, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand, the Sixteenth Meeting of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) begins. The USA, supported by Russia, has proposed that polar bears receive the highest protection at the CITES convention. The proposal requests that polar bears are listed on Appendix I, which would mean a ban on international commercial trade. Canada is the only country that allows legal hunting of polar bears solely for the purpose of international trade and sport. The majority of the world wants to see polar bears protected, not hunted for pelts, skulls, claws and other body parts.
Save The Whales is asking for your help to end this polar bear hunt and trade. Invite your friends and family to help with this email campaign. You can make a difference for the polar bears.
Mark Cosgriff/Marine Photobank