D.C. Circuit Upholds Ban On Polar Bear “Trophy” Imports

In two recent rulings, the D.C. Circuit upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) determination that polar bear “trophies” – i.e., the body parts of polar bears killed in Canada – may no longer be imported into the United States now that the species has been listed under the Endangered Species Act.  In a suit by Safari Club, the Court rejected the argument that a provision of the Marine Mammal Protection Act that had authorized these imports prior to the species’ listing somehow trumps the Act’s protections for listed species such as the polar bear.  In another suit by Conservation Force, the Court issued an unpublished decision affirming the district court’s ruling that killing and importing polar bears does not enhance the survival of the species, as the plaintiffs had argued.  We intervened in these suits on behalf of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Humane Society of the United States, in order to defend the FWS’s determinations.  The Court’s rulings are here and here.