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Ending the Polar Bear Hunt

By Dr. Andrew Jones

Threatened Species that Canada wants to kill

Threatened Species that Canada wants to kill

Last year, amid much media hoopla, polar bears (Ursus maritimus) received protected status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. One aspect of that protection is that American hunters, who often travel to Canada to hunt polar bears, can no longer bring their trophies into the U.S.

Canada considers polar bears to be a “species of special concern,” and has quotas on hunts, which remain both legal and profitable. Quotas vary by province and polar bear population area — for example, this year hunters are allowed to harvest 105 polar bears in the Baffin Bay region. About 60 percent of the world’s 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears live in Canada.

Those hunts could soon be affected by the international community. Later this month, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international agreement governing international trade in specimens of endangered or threatened animals and plants, is set to discuss whether to ban the export and import of polar bear-hunt trophies among all of the convention’s 175 signatory nations, including the U.S., Canada and China. A decision could result in a ban of trophy exports, which would effectively end polar bear sport hunting in Canada.

The Canadian Wildlife Service, which implements CITES regulations on behalf of the Canadian government, has a major part in that decision. According to a report in The Nunatsiaq News, the agency is considering several options, among them reducing or ending sport-hunting harvests in up to four different polar bear population areas.

The Nanutsiaq News says that sports hunting of polar bears in the Nunavut province alone has been estimated to pull in profits of C$2.9 ($2.4 million) annually.

And here’s where it gets interesting: hunting quotas are actually established for Inuit communities, who are allowed to hunt polar bears for sustenance, but can sell a small number of their hunting “tags” to non-indigenous sports hunters, who often pay upwards of $30,000 per hunt, according to a report by Canwest News Service. If CITES bans the international transport of polar bear trophies, it would not end hunting of polar bears in Canada, but it would cut off a major revenue source for local indigenous communities.CITES decisions, however, are not supposed to be based on socio-economic conditions.

Worldwide, polar bears are considered a vulnerable species by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. *Populations stand at an estimated 20,000 to 25,000.

Source: John Platt-Scientific American


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Topics: Pet health | 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “Ending the Polar Bear Hunt”

  1. Avatar Elena Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Why don’t these blockhead hunters spend their time doing something useful, instead of showing how macho they are by massacring unarmed victims?
    This is the ultimate form of bullying.

    A contest I would like to see- hunter vs bear, with only their “skills”, no weapons. That would be much more fair.

  2. Avatar Sue Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Finally, the US got something right!!!!

  3. Avatar Betty Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 10:24 am

    WAKE UP!!! Polar bears are an endangered species, therefore ALL hunting of this animal should be stopped, or soon there won’t be ANY of them left in the wild. These creatures are having a hard enough time surviving due to the dwindling arctic area they need to live in without being pursued by heartless hunters for “sport”. STOP HUNTING POLAR BEARS NOW!!

  4. Avatar Coralie Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 11:09 am

    I am really fed up with these so called “quotas” because the numbers always seems to be manipulated by “hunting interests”.

    Where I live in Sweden, we have this problem with Wolves, Moose and other wildlife as the “hunting community” has extensive lobbying skills at its disposal that propagates for more rights to kill.

    The excuses are everything from traffic accidents to the possibility of wolves attacking children playing in the woods,livestock and unleashed hunting dogs (among other reasons)

    Media is always quick to report any kind of incident that might relate to why more “protected hunting” is necessary.

    I think much of this macho thinking comes from films and videos about killing. It puts ideas into some peoples heads that hunting is a great sport and animals are just prey. Ethics and moral are deminishing fast in our modern World and unprotected animals are the first to suffer.

    Thank you Andrew because you stand-up for what is right.You are a great person!

  5. Avatar Karen Marsack Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Anybody can get in a helicopter and shoot not just bear but any form of wildlife. Or, as in the case of many animals in the wild, walk up to them and look them in the eye and shoot. There is no “trophy” hunting folks, its out and out massacre. Kind of like giving smallpox to the Native Americans, if you get my drift. A real man doesn’t need a head on his wall.

  6. Avatar danielle Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    smoeone needs to stand up for the bears and all of the animals up there and it crap no one willdo it or whants to

  7. Avatar Carol Johnston Says:
    March 18th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    We are supposed to look after the animals that God gave us, not kill them for sport. It’s one thing if the natives of the far north have to hunt them for sustenance, but hunting for sport should be banned completely, regardless of what kind of animal it is. It is just wrong. Why are some people so bloodthirsty that they would kill a beautiful creature like a polar bear just to hang a trophy on their wall?! They should not proudly display what they have done. They should be ashamed.

  8. Avatar Margarita Brown Says:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Leave the bears and the harp seals alone,
    it is sick to kill these wild animals.
    Macho dickheads in the first case,
    No empathy and bimbo denial of the animal’s rights and suffering in the second case for wanting to wear fur.
    Directly or indirectly these culprits have blood on their hands.

  9. Avatar Patricia Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 11:01 am

    maybe it is time for a neanderathal man hunt..we could hunt them down ..cage them up so everyone can see that they are not extinct in this day and age…

  10. Avatar AJ Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I like Patricias idea. I believe these jack a@#es have such inferiority complexes and are so stupid they themselves don’t deserve to live, they find the only way to believe and make others “think” they are macho is to pick on defenseless animals to inflate their own pin head egos. It definitely is bullying and weren’t we always taught that bullies are cowards themselves? Lets pen up all the hunters and set loose a pack of hungry animals to go in and dine on the hunters. I would LOVE to see their pleas for mercy and how “tough” they would be then.

  11. Avatar Nance Luu Says:
    April 9th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Dear Dr. Jones,

    My heart goes to you and your family. Your dad had lived a happy life that is all that matters. He is in heaven resting in peace now.
    I loss my dad on December 2 years ago, and everytime I recall the happy memories we had shared, I smile.

  12. Avatar Brenda Says:
    April 9th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about your Dad, it’s a very tough thing to get over. I lost my husband to cancer in 99 and my Mom in 2008. I was caregiver to both so I know how hard this is on your family. My husbands death was horrific but Mom got her wish and died peacefully on my living room sofa looking out a big picture window she asked that of me and of course that’s what she got. God bless all of you.

  13. Avatar Rauff Halday Says:
    April 9th, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Dear Dr.Jones, I’m deeply sadden by the death of your father, we’re all on the same road, though we are always sadden with the departure of our loved and dear ones. May the Al-Mighty Allah rest his soul in eternal peace. Ameen
    Rauff Halday

  14. Avatar nancy Says:
    April 12th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    so sorry to hear about your dad – its never fun when a loved one dies. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time. And like you said your dad is now at peace and not in pain. Not good for the ones left behind but good for your dad.


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM