OTTAWA - Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq says she is confident that a new international review of Canada's trade in polar bear parts will reaffirm this country's conservation of the species.
The 180-country Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species agreed last week in Mexico to conduct a lengthy study into the global trade of the iconic Arctic bears.
Known as a "significant trade review," the study will look at the practices of all five polar bear range states, although Canada is the only country that permits commercial trade in polar bears.
According to participants in last week's meeting in Mexico, Canada raised no objections to the review, which it hopes will clear the air and confirm that the current bear trade is sustainable.
Animal welfare groups agree climate change is the real threat to polar bear survival, but argue no commercial trade should be allowed given the larger environmental challenge to the species.
Environment Canada says 344 polar bear skins or bodies were exported in 2011, the last year for which numbers are available, with China accounting for 75 per cent of Canadian exports of skins.