A U.S.. proposal aimed at changing the status of the polar bear from a species whose trade is merely regulated, not banned, failed to get needed support at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. U.S.. and Russian representatives, and a handful of animal welfare groups were in favour of banning cross-border sales of polar bear hides, heads and other body parts -- similar to elephant ivory. However Canada, the European Union, and Norway all opposed the move. Canada opposed the resolution to support it's indigenous Inuit people who say a ban would threaten their way of life. Canada was joined by conservation groups like CITES Secretariat, and the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network -- or TRAFFIC. At present the global population of polar bears is estimated at somewhere between 20,000-28,000 -- with the majority of those in Canada.