Polar bears already face a daunting future because of global warming, oil and gas exploration and toxic chemical pollution. But there's another threat that many Americans aren't aware of trophy hunting.
The United States does not allow sport hunting of polar bears in their Alaskan habitat. But more than half of the world's polar bears live in Canada, where hunting is legal. And due to a huge loophole in the Marine Mammal Protection Act, American trophy hunters can travel to Canada, kill a polar bear, and bring back polar bear trophies.
From 2002-2005, a total of 298 requests were made by US citizens to import sport hunted polar bear trophies from Canada. Of these, 252 - a staggering 85 percent - were issued.
We may not be able to stop Canada from allowing hunting, but we can stop the U.S. from allowing Americans to import polar bear trophies. Please act today and urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop issuing polar bear trophy permits immediately!
As a supporter of Defenders of Wildlife and a citizen concerned about our declining polar bears, I urge you to cease issuing polar bear trophy permits immediately.
Polar bears already face a daunting future because of global warming, oil and gas exploration and toxic chemical pollution. But they also continue to face pressures from U.S. trophy hunters due to a loophole in the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).
Polar bear big game trophy hunting is outlawed in the U.S. But the MMPA loophole allows American trophy hunters to import polar bear body parts hunted in Canada.
Just last December the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposed that polar bears be listed as "Threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. Given this proposal, and the overwhelmingly positive response it has received from the American public, I find it disturbing that Fish and Wildlife continues to issue permits for American trophy hunters to import polar bear trophies from Canada. These permits effectively allow American citizens to participate in a commercial hunt of polar bears, something that is illegal in the polar bears' Alaskan habitat.
Global warming is already taking its toll on polar bears, as increased temperatures melt sea ice critical for their survival. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has predicted that polar bears could disappear from most of their range within 100 years.
Please help us protect polar bears and abide by the spirit of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. I urge you to stop issuing polar bear trophy permits immediately.
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