Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Canada's Failure to Protect Polar Bears Challenged

The NAFTA Panel has been invoked to investigate Canada's potential violation of Wildlife Law.

The Center for Biological Diversity, an US conservation group, has filed a challenge over Canada's failure in its duty of care towards the protection of polar bears under the Species At Risk Act.  The challenge was filed with the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) established Commission for Environmental Cooperation.  This commission was created to monitor the signed countries and their compliance with their own environmental law.

Canada chose to give polar bears the status "species of special concern"  which gives them no protection, whereas a status of "threatened" or "endangered" would have given polar bears legal protection.

“Canada is willfully ignoring the deep trouble that polar bears are already in and the likely extinction they face without rapid cuts in greenhouse emissions,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, which successfully petitioned and sued to protect polar bears under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. “Time is running out for the world’s polar bears. They deserve real protection.”  (quoted from the press release from the Center for Biological Diversity).

Scientists state that, without help, more than two-thirds of all polar bears will be gone by 2050 and the rest could be extinct by the end of the century.

Hopefully the challenge will help Canada to see that polar bears are definitely endangered and should be afforded all the protection legislation can provide.  It would be a monumental shame to lose these beautiful animals from the world.

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