Yielding to pressure from conservationists, including more than 50,000 NRDC Members and online activists, the Obama Administration has just announced that it will support an upgrade in international protection for polar bears.
This is extremely important, because if the world agrees to increase the polar bear’s protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), it would help end trophy hunting and stop the global trade in polar bear body parts.
Please take a moment to celebrate this announcement with me, because it would never have happened without the activism of NRDC supporters like you!
And let’s give credit where credit is due: I encourage you to send a message right now to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar — to thank him for doing the right thing for the sake of polar bear survival.
But please don’t think this battle is over.
Between now and March 2010, when the next CITES treaty talks take place, we will have to expand our campaign to make sure that other key nations line up with America’s pro-polar-bear position.
So much is at stake: hundreds of polar bears are still being hunted as trophies, and their body parts traded, each year. Canada, which is home to two-thirds of the world’s polar bears and includes some of the world’s most important polar bear habitat, still allows both trophy hunting and commercial trade.
If the polar bear is to survive, we must end these destructive practices by upgrading polar bear protection under CITES.
Around the world, NRDC has been taking a leading role on this issue. Our team recently traveled to Geneva to discuss polar bear conservation with the CITES Standing Committee, and also reached out to allies in Norway, Russia and the European Union as we build international momentum for increasing protection.
Over the next few months I’ll be writing to you again with news and updates — and asking you to take action to help protect polar bears from trophy hunting and trafficking.
But make no mistake: the Obama Administration’s endorsement of tougher polar bear protection was absolutely critical, and I don’t believe it would have happened without more than 50,000 NRDC Members and online activists making your voices heard — loud and clear.
So give yourself credit, and send a note of thanks to Ken Salazar, too, for standing up for polar bears. Tomorrow, the fight continues, but for today you and I have something to celebrate!
Natural Resources Defense Council