I missed this somehow when I discussed the upcoming (March 3-14) CITES vote on banning polar bear trade (here). But a recent story in the Nunatsiaq News (excerpt below) alerted me to this recommendation by the CITES Secretariat, which rather echoes my December post, “did the PBSG game the polar bear listing process” as well as my last post, “Ten good reasons not to worry about polar bears”:
Recommendation by the Secretariat
In accordance with the criteria in Annex 1 and the guidelines in Annex 5 of Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP15), the global population of Ursus maritimus does not appear to be small, the area of distribution of this species extends over several million square kilometers and is not restricted and there is insufficient evidence to show that the species has undergone a marked decline in the population size in the wild (when applying the definitions, explanations and guidelines in Annex 5). Whilst the guidelines provide for population declines to be projected by extrapolation to infer likely future values, in this instance such a projection is heavily dependent on estimates of future sea ice coverage which vary widely. An Appendix I listing would not appear to be a measure proportionate to the anticipated risk to the species at this time.
Based on the available information at the time of writing (late January 2013), the Secretariat recommends that this proposal be rejected.