Qikiqtani Inuit Association pleased with CITES decision

Date: 3/8/2013

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) congratulates the Inuit involved in defeating a motion at the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) that would have seriously harmed Inuit.

The motion would have seen a ban on the international trade in polar bears, something that would have devastated Inuit communities. It was also a ban that would have been completely unnecessary given that Nunavut maintains one of the best wildlife management systems in the world.

“The hard work of everyone involved at CITES is greatly appreciated,” said President Okalik Eegeesiak. “It’s through their hard work and commitment that they were able to make an effective argument at this international conference on how unnecessary this ban is and how devastating it would have been to Inuit.”

The motion was brought forward by the United States and supported by many animal right groups. It was defeated with 38 voting for the ban and 42 against with 46 countries abstaining. The vote required a two-thirds majority to pass. Although the motion was defeated, it is likely to be brought up once more when CITES meets again in 2016.

Current estimates place the number of polar bears between 20,000 to 25,000, with two-thirds of those in Canada. These numbers are up significantly from 40 years ago, thanks to dedicated wildlife management efforts with Inuit.

Those at the CITES conference who helped defeat the motion include the Government of Canada, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, the Nunatsiavut Government, the Government of Nunavut, the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Wildlife Management Advisory Councils of the Northwest Territories and North Slope, Makivik Corporation, and the Torngat Secretariat.

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For further information, please contact:

Craig Welsh
Director of Communications
Tel: (867) 975-8416
Fax: (867) 979-3238
E-mail: cwelsh@qia.ca