POLITICS
05/07/2014 02:14 EDT | Updated 07/07/2014 05:59 EDT

Facts about the international trade in polar bear skins and parts

OTTAWA - A selection of quick facts about the polar bear and the international trade in its skins and carcasses.

— The polar bear, or Ursus maritimus, is a circumpolar species found in Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Norway and Russia.

— The bear, the world's largest land carnivore, is listed as a species of special concern by Canada.

— Canada allows a trade in polar bear skins and carcasses, although the bears are not part of any commercial hunt.

— From 2007 to 2011, Canada exported an average of 313 polar bears annually, with 344 exported in 2011.

— Environment Canada says this trade involves about two per cent of Canada's polar bear population, which was estimated at 16,000 bears in 2011.

— Between 1992 and 2011, the largest number of skins or carcasses exported in any single year was 425 in 1997.

— China accounted for about 75 per cent of the polar bear skins exported in 2013, with about 21 per cent going to the European union.

— Canada is the only country that permits a legal commercial trade in polar bears.

(Sources: Environment Canada, Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, Polar Bears International, Canadian Museum of Nature)