The sport hunt is by far the most ethically troubling. Sport hunting has declined since the ESA listing, because American hunters (the largest demographic among sport hunters targeting polar bears) can no longer import their trophies into the US. Nevertheless, the federal and territorial governments in Canada continue to allow this purely recreational killing to continue. In addition, the products and parts of as many as 300 bears enter the international market every year, for items such as bear skin rugs.
That may not seem like such a large number, but there are at most only 15,000 bears in Canada, meaning 2% a year are being killed for commercial trade, with dozens more killed frivolously for sport. For a top predator with a low birth rate and a strong reliance on high adult survivorship to maintain its numbers, these are dangerously high numbers, especially given the stress the bears already face from climate change. Shooting them for sport and trade is simply unacceptable.
Recently, some of the polar bear quotas in Canada have actually been increased, even as populations are declining. This cannot be allowed to continue. Canada must give polar bears every chance to survive the coming meltdown of the Arctic. The unnecessary killing of this magnificent animal must end, before itís too late.
Humane Society International is one of the only international animal protection organizations in the world working to protect all animals–including animals in laboratories, farm animals, companion animals, and wildlife–and our record of achievement demonstrates our dedication and effectiveness.
Photo courtesy of HSI.
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