Apathetic Trophy Hunters Pose With Dead Polar Bears As Kill Count Goes Upto 5,000 In Recent Years

Apathetic Trophy Hunters Pose With Dead Polar Bears As Kill Count Goes Upto 5,000 In Recent Years

Polar bear poaching has caused terrible damage to the species and the eco-system of the Arctic regions as hunters continue their brutal 'sport' with indifference.

Polar Bear hunting is a controversial topic, much like the case with most other "trophy-animals". Over the last few years, deplorable pictures of trophy hunters with the bodies of slaughtered polar bears have been used to advertise hunt exhibitions. These hunting trips cost thousands and most of the companies that organize them promise the hunters "high success rates and good trophy quality". 

The Mirror is calling for a ban on the cruel industry in a campaign backed by politicians, celebrities and activists. Eduardo Gonçalves, of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, said, "It is well known polar bears are in serious danger of becoming extinct because of climate change. If we want to see them survive, we need to stop the senseless slaughter. The ­Government should ban im­­­ports of all hunting trophies right away." Aside from that, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, recently called for "evil" animal traffickers and poachers to be jailed. 





While the United States outlawed polar bear hunting in the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (except among Alaskan natives who are still allowed to hunt the bears), the practice remains legal in Canada, attracting dozens of American big-game hunters every year. Polar bears are protected under national law and international treaty, so Canada's polar bears can only be harvested by Inuit hunters for subsistence, or by trophy hunters guided by Inuit.

The major threat for polar bears in Canada is the commercial hunting expeditions organized by various companies and approved by hundreds of hunters. These hunts are purely for selfish reasons, and there is no cultural or religious attachment even.  But even if there was, it should be out of the question that an endangered species can ever be subject to such cruelty. If we can't protect them, we most certainly shouldn't further deplete their numbers. 



According to various hunting websites, the cost of a polar bear hunt is $24,500. Furthermore, if needed, extra hunting days to a maximum of 5 are available at a cost of $1,000 per day payable directly to the outfitter. A host of firms offer wealthy hunters a catalog of majestic creatures to shoot, including lions, ­leopards, and elephants.  For instance, Nebraska-based Worldwide Trophy Adventures even gives its customers an offer to "return for another 10 days if a polar bear is not taken".  Its website boasts that "Hunting is carried out on the sea ice in prime areas. Services of an Inuit polar bear guide with a team is provided through the duration of the hunt. The hunt ends when a bear is harvested." This is not good news given that polar bears have an intimate connection with the Arctic ecosystem, and to disrupt their natural cycles and growth is to hurt other species as well.  





This horrible trade, fueled by soaring prices and fed solely by individuals who are ruthlessly pro-hunting, contributes to the killing of 500 to 600 polar bears every year. It provides cover for poaching in Russia and has resulted in an unsustainable hunt for many polar bear populations. While hunting has long been an issue, global warming has done a number on polar bears' habitats recently. In fact, the World Wide Fund for Nature (or WWF) estimates that there are only 22,000 to 31,000 polar bears left in the world.  "The normal life space for the polar bears is shrinking," explained Anatoly A. Kochnev, a biologist with the Pacific Scientific Research and Fisheries Center in the Chukotka region. "They come in search of food on the shore, and the main sources of food are where people live." With all these changes, can we even think about "hunting" these magnificent animals? No, this is unacceptable from a rational, scientific and moral standpoint. There is no valid justification here and the poaching must cease forthwith if we are to save a great species from extinction. 



In 1973, the five countries that shared polar bear territories—Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States—signed the Oslo Agreement, putting restrictions on the commercial hunting of bears. Since then, Norway and Russia have imposed complete bans on the activity, while the other three nations allow limited hunting by indigenous peoples. Russia began the plan to reintroduce limited hunting in 2008.  The bears can now be found in the Arctic across Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Denmark, Norway, and Russia.

They are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature meaning they are at high risk of endangerment in the wild. Norway is the only country that has banned all hunting, with Russia, Alaska, and Greenland allowing native communities to hunt the bears for food.


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