Environment Canada

Environment Canada

April 25, 2008 17:23 ET

Canada's Environment Minister Responds to Status Assessment of Polar Bears

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 25, 2008) - Canada's Environment Minister, John Baird, commented today on the assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) on the Polar Bear. The Committee announced a status assessment of "special concern", much as it did in 1991, 1999, and 2002.

"Our Government believes that the polar bear is an iconic symbol of Canada," said Baird. "As such, we also believe we have a responsibility to ensure its population is strong and its future is certain."

"Today's assessment by COSEWIC is a first step towards learning all we can about the polar bear," said Baird. "By August of this year, we will learn much more after receiving complete scientific data of all the work of the Committee."

After COSEWIC's official report is received in August, the Minister will issue a statement outlining how the Government of Canada will proceed in order to come to a decision on Polar Bear listing.

"As Minister of the Environment, I will be launching an immediate dialogue with a number of groups, from environmentalists, to scientists, and wildlife management boards to get their feedback and advice on this issue as we go forward," said Baird.

"Most importantly, as Minister, I have an obligation to work directly with the Inuit, not only out of a constitutional responsibility, but because so much of their history, culture and way of life are affected by this majestic animal," said Baird. "This Government cares about the future of the polar bear and as Minister of the Environment, I am committed to action."

Management of the approximately 15,000 Polar Bears in Canada falls under the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories. Environment Canada plays an important role by providing scientific expertise on Polar Bears.

COSEWIC is an independent scientific committee comprised of experts from federal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as other scientists and Aboriginal experts. COSEWIC assesses the status of the wildlife in Canada, based on the best scientific, community and Aboriginal knowledge available. Certain Environment Canada scientists are members of COSEWIC and provide science expertise for the development of these assessments.

Egalement offert en francais

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Eric Richer
    Press Secretary
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations