A US-backed proposal to ban the international trade of polar bear skins, teeth, and claws was defeated today at a UN wildlife meeting over concerns it would hurt indigenous economies and arguments that the practice doesn't pose a significant threat to the animals. The Americans argued that the sale of polar bears skins is compounding the loss of the animals' sea ice habitat due to climate change. Canada, along with Norway and Greenland, led the opposition.
Only 2% of Canadian polar bears are internationally traded and the country strictly manages the commerce, it said. An indigenous leader argued that they hunt them in a sustainable way and would continue doing so with or without an international ban. In May 2008, the US classified the polar bear as a threatened species, the first with its survival at risk due to global warming.