Polar bears apparently have more to worry about than sea ice. The US thinks too many are being hunted in Canada and will push for an international ban on the trade of polar bear pelts, claws, teeth, and other body parts, reports the Los Angeles Times. If the US convinces the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to go along at its next meeting in March, polar bear skins would be as protected as elephant ivory.
By most estimates, up to 25,000 polar bears exist in the world, and two-thirds of those are in Canada. Native Inuits would still be allowed to hunt the bears, but they would no longer be able to sell on the international market. They promise to fight the move, reports the CBC. "The polar bear population is very healthy right now and traditional knowledge says that the numbers are increasing,” says one rep. The US tried and failed a few years ago to get the designation in place, but it might have a better shot this time because Russia is on board. (Read more polar bears stories.)