Canada Reacts to U.S. Polar Bear Decision

CBC, Bear Hunting Magazine

Condemnation came from Canada regarding the decision by the U.S. government to list polar bears as a threatened species, as Inuit groups and northern politicians denounced the bears' new status.

While environmental activists applauded the move, people in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories say it runs contrary to observations by Inuit that polar bear populations are on the rise in some areas.

The decision will also effectively kill the American sport hunt that brings more than $3 million a year to the Canadian Arctic.

"Obviously, we're very disappointed with the decision," Paul Irngaut, a wildlife communications adviser with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., said Wednesday.

"We feel that it's going to affect a lot of the Inuit up here who rely on the sport hunt, especially from the American sport hunters."

By listing the polar bears as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, all U.S. federal agencies will have to ensure nothing they do would jeopardize the bears' survival or their sea ice habitat.

It would also ban American sport hunters from bringing home polar bear hides as trophies from hunts in the Canadian North. Americans spend about $30,000 to $35,000 to hunt a bear.

Comments have been made regarding the usage of the polar bear tags across the internet such as: Rules are different for sports hunts versus subsistence hunts(Inuit - aboriginals). When a tag is allocated to a sports hunt it cannot be re-allocated if the hunt is not successful, which is not the case with subsistence hunts where if it is unsuccesful the tag can be re-allocated to another hunter. Unsuccessful sport hunts can actually contribute to the conservation of the species by ensuring the quota is not met in any given year as typically only 50-75% of these are successful. So in effect, by eliminating the U.S. sports hunters you will likely see an increased allocation of tags for subsistence use resulting in a possible increase in kills. This listing may have the opposite effect of what most people think.

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