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Inuits decry polar bear protection

Inuits decry polar bear protection

JANUARY 17, 2008—Saying a ban on polar bear hunting will hurt their livelihood, Inuit leaders in Canada have denounced efforts by three U.S. environmental groups to list the polar bear as “threatened.”

“The polar bear is a very important subsistence, economic, cultural, conservation, management and rights concern for Inuit in Canada. It’s a complex and multilevel concern,” said Mary Simon, president of Inuit Tapiriit of Canada. “But it seems the media, environmental groups and the public are looking at this in overly simplistic black-and-white terms as the demise of the polar bear from climate change and sports hunting.”

Inuit groups argue that hunting polar bears is important culturally and economically.

“Our hunters and guides benefit economically and we are able to continue with our culture, enjoy the benefits of what we use, and ensure that this is done in a responsible and sustainable manner,” said Duane Smith, president of Inuit Circumpolar Council (Canada), which represents about 150,000 Inuit of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Russia.

Canada’s Arctic region is home to 13 of the 19 of the world’s polar bear species with roughly half the world’s polar bear population.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to make a decision on the polar bear’s status in February.

U.S. environmental groups say that polar bear habitat is rapidly being destroyed by global warming with hunting further stressing the species.

Environmentalists cite geological models that predict a two-thirds decline in the polar bear population by 2050.

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By Care2 editorial staff

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on anniebbond.com, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

89 comments

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1:15PM PDT on May 29, 2013

Consider compromise and a stratified (as to consider the many levels involved) approach... e.g. pehaps hunting by indigenous peoples for their own use is ok within bounds, but guiding outside and trophy hunters is certainly not ok.

6:52AM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

No Bears - the tale will be " remember when the big white bear roamed the ice?? Ask your grandfather.....Back in dream time..."

6:50AM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

Bears before people!!!f you don't preserve the species there will be no tales to tell!!!

3:04PM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

Thanks for keeping us informed and I hope the hunting stops I'm not for hunting these poor animals don't mean us any harm lets leave them alone to live the way God or nature wanted them to be. Soon there will not be any left if are kept being hunted.

2:19PM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

Having just moved back from Alaska, I find this article really sad. Yes, the native population has a right BY LAW to kill the polar bear. AND, for $1500 you can get a permit to kill one yourself. I just want to cry since all of this fails to look at what we are doing to the habitat and the EARTH! Do we think we can continue this path of destruction without consequence??

3:33PM PDT on Jul 15, 2012

BS! LIES! The Canadian Government gets upwards of $11,000 dollars per pelt for polar bears that are shot and killed in Inuit territories by trophy hunters from around the world!!!

Inuits have sold out the very animal they claim they are "using" for subsistence! Since when is it an integral and necessary part of Inuit heritage, culture and "economy" to allow trophy hunters to fly in from all over the world to murder in cold blood an endangered species!? Since when is it ethical OR economically viable to allow other people to murder an iconic animal simply for the thrill and fun of it, only to have it's pelt sold for some cheap rug or to have it stuffed and placed in a hunting supply store!?

THIS MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL! POLAR BEARS BELONG TO THE WORLD, NOT JUST THE INUIT, AND I WILL SIGN EVERY PETITION OUT THERE AND RALLY AND CRY WITH EVERY ENVIRONMENTALIST AND ANIMAL WELFARE ORGANIZATION ON THE PLANET IN ORDER TO SAVE THEM FROM CLIMACTIC CALAMITY AND HUMAN STUPIDITY AND GREED!

3:13AM PDT on Jul 15, 2012

I respect and love the Inuit people, having shared part of my life with one of their groups, but I do think they now have to face the same facts the rest of the world is facing. Global Warming is changing and challenging all of our lives. Sad but true.

8:24PM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

To ban hunting of polar bears because they are starving seems to me to be rather like banning the hunting of deer because they are starving. Superficially, the solution to both seems the same: reduce their numbers, and hence competition for scarce resources. From that point of view, the Inuit request makes perfect sense.

However, I suspect there are some critical differences here. The most glaring one is, deer starve because they overpopulate their habitat. Polar bears are starving because their habitat is disappearing, not because there are too many of them. Also, deer are herbivores, and stick pretty close together; bears are carnivores and live lonely lives until mating season sends them roaming in search of a mate. For that reason, it's easy for the deer population to rebound when the forest recovers. If the polar bear habitat were magically restored to normal today, it might be a year or two before the bears recovered enough to even think of mating.

So, all in all, I would have to agree that hunting polar bears at this time is like overfishing the sea: if you do it now, your son will have no bears to hunt/fish to catch. How about stopping now, and give the populations a chance to recover at least? (And who knows, your son may choose not to hunt polar bears - but at least you will have given him the choice.)

12:47AM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

Thanks for keeping us updated on Polar Bear situation!

2:25PM PDT on May 26, 2012

i agree they should ban hunting and list it as threaten they should figure out new tread leave the bears alone seems like you shouldn't base your whole existence on a bear

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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