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Recent Polar Bear Hunt Both Legal And Illegal

/ Post by Erica Wills of Polar Bears International

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the delicate balance between culture preservation and conservation regarding polar bear hunting. Now, I bring you another case to consider. Last week, a family of big-game hunters from Mexico shot and killed three polar bears near Resolute Bay, Nunavut, Canada. 

Though it was entirely legal for the Martinez family to kill those bears, they were caught in an attempt to illegally transport the hides and several narwhal tusks back to Mexico, as they did not have the proper permits. It should also be noted that, even if they did have the proper permits, “the Mexican government does not allow the importation of mammals or mammal hides into its country, and the four men would not have been legally allowed to take them into the country. 

According to Canadian law, “polar bears can only be harvested by Inuit hunters for sustenance, or by sport hunters guided by Inuit.” In Nunavut, local hunters are issued tags on an annual basis to hunt polar bears. However, they also have the option to sell those tags to big-game hunts, like the Martinez family. 

The fines between the four men totaled $80,000, all of which will be directed to Canada’s Environmental Defense Fund (EDF); the EDF allocates money to various environmental groups around the country.

Should local hunters be allowed to sell their tags and encourage big-game hunts? Should hunting polar bears be allowed only for Inuit sustenance, and not for sport hunting? What are your thoughts on this?