Will the recent U.S. Endangered Species Act listing of the polar bear kill sport hunting for polar bears in Canada ( ;Canadians argue for polar bear hunt)?, H. Josef Hebert, AP, June 23):
Officials from northern Canada were in Washington on Monday to make an unpopular argument: Let U.S. hunters continue to kill polar bears for sport.
The politicians from Canada's Northwest Territory asked Interior Department officials to allow U.S. sportsmen to still bring back polar bear hides after their hunts in Canada's Arctic region, despite the increased protection now afforded the bear under the Endangered Species Act.
The United States bans sport hunting of polar bears, but Canada does not, although it restricts the hunting season to two months and limits the number of kills.
The recent decision to declare the polar bear threatened under the Endangered Species Act also means U.S. sportsmen may no longer bring home trophy skins — which is what hunting's high-rollers actually prize.
This "will effectively wipe out our sports hunting industry," Bob McLeod, the Northwest Territory's minister for energy, industry and tourism, said Monday in an interview. He said it will wipe out most of the income for people living in a handful of villages along the province's Arctic coast.
He said hunters, mostly from the United States, spend an estimated $1.6 million annually during the polar bear hunts, much of it going into the economies of the isolated villages where the hunts are organized and concentrated.
This longer article form the Canwest News Service gives somewhat different figures (N.W.T. minister wants polar bear hunt ban reversed, Sheldon Alberts, June 23):
Polar bear hunts generate an estimated $3 million in annual revenue in Canada's North, including $1.7 million alone in the Northwest Territories. Wealthy hunters pay native guides anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000 for the chance to shoot one of the iconic Arctic animals.
In 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued 113 polar bear import permits allowing hunters to bring their prizes home.