USSA: Anti's Effort To Ban Polar Bear Hunts

U.S. Sportsmen, Bear Hunting Magazine

From the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance:

Three anti-hunting groups are urging the United States to lead the way and basically end all hunting of polar bears due to fears over global warming. If the effort is successful a precedent will be established that can be used to ban the hunting of many different species around the world.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare, Humane Society International, and Defenders of Wildlife sent a joint press release suggesting that the U.S. submit a proposal banning all trade in polar bear trophies, hides, and rugs at the next meeting of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). That meeting is scheduled for March 13-15 and will take place in Doha, Qatar.

The CITES convention is an international agreement between participating governments and is designed to guarantee that any trade in wild animals does not threaten their survival. The Convention was drafted in the 1960s and became effective worldwide on July 1, 1975.

The proposal advocated by the antis would uplist the polar bears under CITES from where a limited and regulated international trade is allowed to where it is completely prohibited.

The antis argue that the trade should be banned due to projections that global warming will reduce arctic ice in the bears habitat. This is the same reason that the U.S. Department of Interior formally listed polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in May of 2008.

The U.S. Sportsmens Alliance (USSA) has long opposed the ESA listing of polar bears for two reasons. First, and foremost, this is an abuse of the ESA as many populations of polar bears are actually thriving and increasing. Also the listing is being based on future forecasting of wildlife populations. Currently, there is no agreement on number projections among professional wildlife managers.

The push by antis to uplist polar bears under CITES is an overreaction, stated Bud Pidgeon, USSA president and CEO. As with the threatened designation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this move is a pre-emptive designation based on hypothetical assessments of the impact of global warming and would establish a precedent that antis can exploit with other species world wide.

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