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HSI and The HSUS Criticize Decision by CITES Parties That Will Further Imperil Beleaguered Polar Bears

Humane Society International Wildlife Director Teresa M. Telecky, Ph.D., released the following statement criticizing the parties during the 16th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species for their interim decision to not give the polar bear top-level protection with a listing on Appendix I of CITES. The decision to not ban the international commercial trade in polar bear skins and parts is sure to further imperil the species, already facing extinction because of loss of habitat due to climate change:

“CITES has left polar bears out in the cold once again. Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States are extremely disappointed in today’s vote. We urge officials from those countries that want to see an end to the international commercial trade in the polar bear to work to overturn this vote by gathering additional support and bringing the proposal back to the plenary meeting next week.”

For polar bear facts and CITES proposals, please visit hsi.org/citespolarbears.

Through March 14 in Bangkok, CITES member countries are meeting to decide which species should be protected, and to impose controls or bans on their international commercial trade by adding them to one of the treaty’s appendices. An animal (or a plant) placed on Appendix I of CITES receives the highest level of protection – international commercial trade in its parts and products is effectively banned. An animal or plant listed on Appendix II allows for international trade, but with regulations. 

A delegation from The HSUS and HSI is at the meeting, championing more than 40 proposals to provide greater protections for wildlife. 

Media Contact: Rebecca Basu, +1 (240-753-4875), rbasu@humanesociety.org