A Col­lec­tion of News by Moos


Trade in Polar bear body parts to be prohibited .…

pub­lished 24 August 2010 | mod­i­fied 14 March 2010

There seems to be a huge dis­pute regard­ing the mea­sures to pro­tect the Polar bear, as an endan­gered species, between the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment and the Euro­pean Parliament.

At least this is sug­gested by the basic doc­u­ments sub­mit­ted by these gov­ern­ments for the CITES con­fer­ence in Doha, Qatar, 1325 March 2010. CITES (the Con­ven­tion on Inter­na­tional Trade in Endan­gered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an inter­na­tional agree­ment between gov­ern­ments. Its aim is to ensure that inter­na­tional trade in spec­i­mens of wild ani­mals and plants does not threaten their sur­vival. The species cov­ered by CITES are listed in three Appen­dices, accord­ing to the degree of pro­tec­tion they need. Appen­dix I pro­vides the high­est level of protection.

There is agree­ment on the Polar bear’s sta­tus being vul­ner­a­ble for extinc­tion (IUCN Red list), of course. But not on how to pro­tect the Polar bear from going extinct. The Cana­dian gov­ern­ment argu es that pro­hibit­ing trade of Polar bear bod­ies, skins and tro­phies will not solve this prob­lem, because the bear’s decreas­ing pop­u­la­tion is merely due to cli­mate change, they say. In their fact sheet sub­mit­ted for the CITES con­fer­ence of par­ties in Doha, which started yes­ter­day, the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment states that two third of the world’s total esti­mated pop­u­la­tion of Polar bears can be found on Cana­dian ter­ri­tory (15,000 vs 20,00025,000). As if this auto­mat­i­cally gives them the author­ity to decide on the mea­sures to be taken (Moos).

The Euro­pean Parliament’s strate­gic objec­tive for the CITES con­fer­ence, calls for a trans­fer of the Polar bear from CITES Appen­dix II to CITES Appen­dix I, and is in line with the pro­posal for amend­ment sub­mit­ted by the U.S.A. The rea­son behind this request is the increase of the inter­na­tional trade in Polar bear body parts since the 1990s, which has a neg­a­tive impact on the pop­u­la­tion. The loss of habi­tat due to cli­mate change is not dis­puted by the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, but the addi­tional issue of trade in body parts is rea­son enough to change the Polar bear’s CITES sta­tus they argue. It will be inter­est­ing to see what deci­sion will be made in Doha, Qatar.

UN Biodiversity decade

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
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