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Polar bears win protection in US Federal court

Bernadette Carreon – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Bangkok, Thailand (4E) – The global conference, held in Bangkok, rejected a proposal by the United States to limit trade in polar bear pelts due to oppositions from Canada, Greenland and Norway.

According to a report from CITES, the three countries opposed the proposal due to their polar bear populations.

But the U.S efforts to protect the bears were upheld when a federal appeals court rejected a challenge to a decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service to list polar bears as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

There are 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears in the world, however by midcentury some bear populations will be endangered.

Polar bears depend on sea ice as platforms from which to hunt, seek mates and breed, but the ice is thinning.

The listing, was strongly opposed by the state of Alaska and hunting and industry groups but with the new ruling it could save the bears’ survival.

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the decision was supported by voluminous studies.