Polar Bear Hunting Uncertain


Published: December - 2007

As the big hunting conventions approach, American hunters are asking us whether they should even look at polar bear hunts in light of the current effort by US Fish & Wildlife Service to list this species as threatened. The listing, you'll recall, will trigger provisions in the Marine Mammal Protection Act banning all polar bear trophy imports to the US.

As this is written in mid-November, it is unfortunately still unclear what the final outcome will be. The comment period closed in October and a final decision is not expected until some time in January. The bottom line is, no American hunter should be putting hard, non-returnable money down on a polar bear hunt at this point. Also, Americans with polar bear trophies still in Canada need to get them home soon or risk losing them.

So, what are the chances that polar bear will be listed as a threatened species? According to John J. Jackson, III, of Conservation Force, there is simply no telling what the final decision will be. Plenty of evidence has been submitted to the service by numerous sources showing such a listing would be premature and based on unreliable speculation rather than testable assumptions, he says. But that has to be weighed against the fact that the Secretary of the Interior and the Service itself has shown obvious bias in favor of the listing.

You'll remember that the primary reason the service is considering uplisting the bear is the projected threat to the polar bear's habitat supposedly caused by receding sea ice, particularly summer ice, due to global warming. A key document being used is a survey conducted on one polar bear population (Western Hudson Bay) that indicates the animals there have declined recently about 20 percent. Scientists and conservationists in the know have since submitted scientific evidence that polar bear populations overall are stable to increasing. Two increasing populations live in areas that have never had summer ice. The point is, polar bears are adaptable, but the proposal to uplist them presumes they are not.........(continued)

 
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