Polar Bear Pelts for $1750, Says Gov’t

The government of the Northwest Territories is offering $1750 per polar bear pelt, up considerably from the $400 they were giving. The purpose for the increase is apparently to bring more polar bear pelts to auction. North Bay, Ontario in July is where and when the next auction will be.

Canada has about two-thirds of the world’s wild polar bears. Their national government has listed them as a species of special concern, which means they receive less legal protection than those designated as threatened or endangered. Still they do receive some protections, meaning in most areas no hunting or trapping of them is allowed, except for indigenous peoples.

The Canadian national government maintains a website about wild animals and their legal protection called the Species at Risk Public Registry. In the polar bear section, they list various threats for them as hunting, climate change resulting in habitat loss and loss of prey animals for food, human pollution, and polar bears eating each other.

For Ontario, the SRRR website says, “In Ontario, the Polar Bear is protected under the Endangered Species Act, 2007. Polar Bears are also protected under the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997, and there is no hunting or trapping season. Nevertheless, under Treaty 9, Aboriginal people residing along the Hudson Bay and James Bay coast are permitted to harvest Polar Bears, including females with cubs and bears in dens.” (Source: Species at Risk Public Registry)

So the government allows female polar bears with cubs to be killed, at the same time they are protected? The provincial government pays $400 to $1750 per polar bear pelt, in what appears to be a subsidy to aboriginal people to help supplement their incomes. So perhaps the polar bear pelt payments are charitable to those people, but how about giving them the money to protect the besieged bears, rather than to contribute to their demise? What sense is there in paying people to kill bears that are in all practical terms endangered, though politics prevents them from being afforded that legal status?

Image Credit: Alan Wilson


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Tanya W.
Tanya W4 years ago


jayasri amma
jayasri amma5 years ago

This is an absolute disgrace!

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M5 years ago

Thanks for this article Jake.
Paying the indigenous people to not shoot the Polar Bears might just not work, as they have been doing it for - what - hundreds of years. We know of the plight of the Polar Bears, and soon I am sure due to climate change they will be on all endangered species lists.
I do not like the idea of shooting them for dollar amounts either, but we have to admit we have all contributed to problems of climate change, pollution and all that are affecting the Artic Oceans now.

Carol Henderson
Carol Henderson5 years ago

I guess clubbing baby seals is not enough. Now the Canadian government is upping the price of Polar Bear pelts. What a wonderful country Canada is. NOT! It's one country that I will certainly stay out of. Disgusting. Is anyone doing anything about this?

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago

This is an absolute disgrace!

Sonya Armenia Redfield

I wish the earth would come to an end & then the suffering would end !!!!!!

Susan Griffiths
Susan G5 years ago

Great article Jake. Perhaps you, or someone, could forward this article to the appropriate pro - wildlife group. Your suggestion to give the indigenous population the money to protect the besieged bears, rather than to contribute to their demise is a positive solution.

Diana C.
Diana C5 years ago

I despise the human species so much. It reproduces out of control in every area of the world and does nothing but devastate the planet in every possible way. Putrid humanity will not stop until the entire planet is destroyed.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe6 years ago

This is sad. It is bad enough they are allowing killing of supposedly "protected" Polar Bears, but to actually kill females with babies? That is just WRONG.

Adrianne P.
A P6 years ago

This is sickening! We need to save the polar bears, not exploit them!