March 18, 2009

Polar bear protections under review

Representatives of five countries are meeting in Norway to discuss the ongoing conservation of polar bears.

Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway, Russia and the United States last met in Oslo in 1981, when they voted to extend their 1973 protection agreement indefinitely, the Norway Post reported Wednesday.

The World Wildlife Federation, however, said the meeting has excluded outside groups and other observers from parts of the meeting that involve discussion of climate change.

We do not know what these countries have to say about protecting polar bears that cannot be shared with the world, Geoff York, polar bear coordinator for the federation, said in a release. It may be that certain governments do not want to hear what we have to say about the necessity of tackling climate change as the core threat to polar bears, and their obligations under the polar bear agreement to take action to protect polar bear habitat.