US proposal to ban polar bear trade FAILS

Just in, the BBC reports (Matt McGrath): [UPDATE FOLLOWS]

A proposal by the US to ban cross-border trade in polar bears and their parts was defeated on Thursday at an international meeting.

The result marks a victory for Canada’s indigenous Inuit people over their bigger neighbour to the south.

Delegates at the Cites meeting in Thailand rejected the proposal to change the bear’s status from a species whose trade is regulated, not banned.

A similar proposal was defeated three years ago at the last Cites meeting.

The latest plan fell far short of the two-thirds needed to pass the Bangkok conference. It garnered 38 votes in favour, 42 against and 46 abstentions.

Sanity and good science prevailed.

See the full story here.


Over at the Guardian Environment blog, Damian Carrington unwittingly, perhaps, gives us an inside view of the proceedings, after presentations by the US and Canada:

As the debate raged, national delegates from other countries got confused by the strident but conflicting claims. “Where is the truth? Is it true that the polar bear is declining. Is it true that trade is increasing? We need to know,” said the Egyptian delegate.[my emphasis]

Well, that about sums up how many of us feel, doesn’t it?

As a consequence, many of them abstained from voting and the proposal was rejected.

And yet, in a report by CTV news this afternoon, Canadian polar bear biologist Andrew Derocher is quoted as saying:

“It’s a good day for Inuit hunters,” said Andrew Derocher, a polar bear expert at the University of Alberta. “But we’re going to be right back here in three years.”[my emphasis]

This guy just can’t take no for an answer – two democratic votes (2013 and 2010) by national delegates who are generally concerned about conservation issues and still, Derocher vows to put everyone through it yet again because he didn’t get the answer he wanted.


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