October 3, 2012

CSC Members Send Letter on Polar Bear Proposal

On September 27, 2012,  House CSC leaders and members sent a letter to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Dan Ashe regarding the upcoming release of a U.S. proposal to transfer the polar bear from CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Appendix II to Appendix I. CITES is an international agreement between governments, which meets every 3 years, with the goal of  ensuring that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. There is a current proposal to once again try and uplist polar bears, which would further restrict their international trade and threaten the culture of Alaska Natives and indigenous Canadians.

The letter -signed by CSC leaders Representatives Ross, Shuler, Latta and Miller as well as CSC members Representatives Young, Boren and Peterson – urges the Service to refrain from submitting a proposal that would transfer polar bears from their existing status at Appendix II to Appendix I for the following reasons: 1) the current global polar bear population is stable and actually increasing; 2) the proposal failed to garner international support at the last convention, 3) Canada has strong management and the polar bear quota in Canada is not market driven, but based on principles of conservation & scientific and aboriginal findings; 4) a CITES transfer will be counterproductive, as it will increase the demand for polar bear hides; 5) the CITES export permit process doesn’t reflect the true number of polar bears harvested annually; and, 6) it is unwarranted when international trade is not a detriment to the worldwide polar bear population.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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