The U.S. and Russia are two of the five countries in the world inhabited by polar bears. At a conference in Bangkok this week, the two countries will present a global treaty to protect this endangered species.
According to Jeffrey Flocken, North American regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, it is somewhat surprising that the two nations are teaming up to save the polar bears, when the political situation and huge disagreements on various other issues, are that strong.
Three years ago, at an endangered species conference, Russia stood strongly against a similar proposition by the U.S.. President Vladimir Putin, however, is convinced that the year 2013 will be “The year of the environment.” He has a direct personal interest in these animals, and has already planned a conference on polar bears to be held in Moscow later on this year.
Many scientists agree that the thinning of the polar ice due to climate change, together with the increased hunting and trades, put the population of the species at high risk of extinction.
The two major political powers- The U.S and Russia, recognize the danger and agree that immediate action and measures should be taken. If the proposal is approved, the international trades in skins and fur from bears will be banned.
Out of the remaining three countries where polar bears live, only Norway has not provided their statement on the issue. Canada and Denmark oppose the ban.
The E.U. has already presented alternatives, which have been declined by The U.S.. Canada is now the only country which still allows trades of bear skin overseas, while the others have various restrictions.
Considering that climate change is already putting high pressure on the population of polar bears, increased industrial activities in the region is deepening the problem.
We can only hope the discussion does not take place when it is too late.