The polar bear hunting

The poster child of the global warming religion – a humble polar bear – is in the news again. I have long claimed that the main threat to the species is hunting by the indigenous tribes of the Arctic and that the use of  polar bear by the likes of Greenpeace and WWF amounts to a PR scam. Let me share the good news that the abuse of the poor animal has now been exposed and the Greens are scrapping among themselves about how to deal with the fallout.

First some facts. The population of polar bears took a serious dive in the first half of 20th century as a result of commercial harvesting. Up to 1250 bears a year were taken until the strict conservation laws passed around 1970 stemmed the decline. When the number of polar bears bounced back the recreational hunting gradually resumed. At the moment around 600 are taken a year which appears to keep the global population of 20 000 – 25 000 stable.

Despite being fierce predators, polar bears look fluffy and cute which has not escaped the attention of the PR experts of the Green movement. A polar bear was made into a symbol of the environmental threats facing the Arctic. This resilient, powerful animal was supposedly vulnerable and prone to extinction unless we curb the CO2 emissions. Of course the environment of the Arctic does change – it always has – but the issue is whether a bit more or a bit less sea ice is going to wipe out polar bears. When four dead polar bears were spotted floating in the sea this was reported as a sign that the end is near. Let me say that again – we are talking about four (4) drowned bears, but even this report is disputed:

One knows something is askew when a questionable report about four drowned bears creates a global hysteria but 600 bears hunted each year do not. Why might that be? The answer is surprising. The bear hunting quota are managed by the local Inuit and are a major source of income for the indigenous communities. According to Wiki:

The guiding of sport hunters provides meaningful employment and an important source of income for native communities in which economic opportunities are few. Sport hunting can bring CDN$20,000 to $35,000 per bear into northern communities, which until recently has been mostly from American hunters

One of the tenets of the Green movement is that indigenous peoples, unlike those ignorant Europeans, have a deep bond with nature. They have lived sustainably for centuries and so their environmental judgement cannot be questioned. Also, they have been economically exploited by the greedy Whites and must now be compensated. In this context giving the Inuit the management of the polar bear hunting quota must be applauded. That driving fat Texans on sleighs to within shooting distance of a polar bear has nothing to do with “indigenous” hunting does not matter a jot. It is the four polar bears which may (or may not) have drowned because of the shrinking sea ice that are an issue, not the 600 shot by hunters.

However, to my great surprise, a slightly saner faction of the Greens is beginning to kick up a fuss about the hunting and international trade in polar bear parts:

The environmentalists, notorious for exaggerations and outright lies, are now divided on the issue. The position taken by the global warming hardliners is particularly interesting:

WWF has had a long association with the iconic species but believes that the threat from international trade is not significant compared to the threat from climate change (…) “We have to focus on what is the major threat and not distract ourselves with a relatively minor one”.

Yes, you read it correctly – the 600 bears shot a year are a “minor threat”. WWF have a bigger fish to fry – milking billions of dollars from the guilt-ridden West. Who cares about the indigenous folk killing hundreds of polar bears a year.

Dr Colman O’Criodain says that WWF won’t actively campaign against the ban and will accept it if it is voted through. But he argues that would be a bad outcome for polar bears. “You could say that this is just a distraction factor and that it could have the effect of making people think something has been done to address the threat when the net effect will be almost negligible,” he said.

This is utterly bizarre; banning the trade in polar bear parts, with a view of curbing the hunting, is a “bad outcome for polar bears”. But the Inuit concur:

Indigenous groups in Canada are actively working against the proposed ban. And they particularly resent the fact that the US is leading the charge for change. “The American government is using the threat of climate change to justify banning the international trade in polar bear parts while utterly failing to do anything to reduce their own activities,” said James Eetoolook of the Nunavut Tunngavik, a group that represents Inuit interests.

While this wrangling goes on the bears are getting slaughtered in their hundreds, with the blessing of the Western environmentalists. Think about it next time a WWF collector comes knocking on the door.



2 Responses to “The polar bear hunting”

  1. Barbra & Jack Donachy Says:

    Thanks for the interesting post. You said it yourself in your article: harvesting a few hundred polar bears per year is not negatively impacting the bear population. It’s remaining stable. That’s why individual environmentalists and environmental groups looking at the big picture generally aren’t expressing concern about these limited hunts. By contrast, a lot of us are very concerned about a potential sweeping change in environmental circumstances. Less sea ice could dramatically impact polar bear survival – on a mass scale.

  2. da-boss Says:

    Thanks for taking time to comment. I would worry more about the real (as in: actually happening) slaughter of 600 bears a year than a hypothetical process which may or may not lead to a loss of unknown number of bears in unspecified future. But hey – that is me and you are welcome to take a different tack! I am assuming you know there is evidence that the polar bear has survived conditions warmer than what we have today:
    There are other studies claiming that the Arctic was either ice-free or almost ice-free some time during that period.

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