Hunting Canada's Polar Bears Breeds Heated Argument

Scientists, locals clash over quotas in Canada's frozen north
By Rebecca Smith Hurd,  Newser User
Posted Nov 21, 2008 4:43 PM CST
Two skinned polar bear skulls are seen on top of a shed in Resolute Bay, Canada, July 12, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – One man’s endangered species is another’s livelihood in the Arctic north, where polar bear hunting is this season’s hot-button issue, the Economist reports. Scientists set a sustainable annual quota to protect dwindling species near the Canada-Greenland border, but some Inuit locals—who distrust outsiders and use the bears for blankets, mukluks and stews—refuse to comply.

“Nothing can grow in the ground, so the only thing we eat is animals,” says a resident of the native Nunavut territory. Treaties between the area’s indigenous and Canadian governments enforce his opinion that science can’t overrule conventional wisdom. “We live here, so we know what’s really going on,” he says, dismissing the idea that hunting diminishes bear populations.