Court Sets Schedule For All Polar Bear Suits

The federal district court has issued a schedule for resolution of all cases concerning the ESA listing of the Polar Bear. Eleven separate lawsuits were consolidated into one Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in D.C.. Fours of these suits concern the ban on imports of polar bear body parts – called “trophies” – from Canada, and will be fully briefed by March 2010. Three of those cases challenge whether the MMPA provision for polar bear imports is still in effect despite the listing of the species under the ESA (e.g. Safari Club v. Salazar, No. 08-881). The final case concerns hunter applications for “enhancement” permits, claiming that killing polar bears in Canada and importing their body parts into this country will significantly enhance the survival and recovery of the species (Atcheson v. Salazar, No. 09-941). We represent the HSUS, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Defenders of Wildlife in defending the import ban. The Scheduling Order is attached.