Canada, others kill proposal to ban trade in polar bear parts

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BANGKOK — A proposal to ban international trade in polar bear parts was rejected Thursday at a major conference on wildlife trade, The New York Times reported.

The question came up at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or Cites, which is meeting in Bangkok.

The polar bear proposal was put forward by the United States but opposed by Canada, Greenland and Norway, the Times said. All of the opposing countries have polar bear populations.

A compromise offered by the European Union, which would regulate the trade with export quotas and a tagging system rather than banning it entirely, also was rejected by the convention, the Times said.

“We are obviously disappointed that the Cites membership failed to give greater protection to polar bears by limiting permissible trade in polar bear pelts and other body parts,” David J. Hayes, a deputy secretary of the U.S. Interior Department, said in an e-mailed statement.

Polar bear populations have come under severe pressure as the melting of Arctic sea ice has shrunk their habitats. At the same time, hunting has increased because of soaring prices for polar bear hides, said Dan Ashe, head of the American delegation at the meeting.

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