Saturday, April 26, 2008

Let's go kill a Polar Bear

It's a rough time to be a Polar Bear according to the recent flurry of articles about killing them. From Canada, the Numavut government is proposing to our Feds that the annual hunt on Baffin Island be reduced to 64 bears from a 105 last year. Of course the local Inuit are claiming that their government is wrong on the number of bears available for slaughter. We are talking about a difference of less than 50 bears here.

The last actual count was done in 1997, where the population was set at 2,100. According to our government's revised numbers based on computer models, the current, estimated, number is now around 1,500 or a 30% drop in 10 years. Local hunters claim that these estimates are wrong, One man's brother-in-law has seen six bears in a single day, and that the government is looking for bears in the wrong spots. Besides Polar Bears to the Inuit are like cows are to the people in the south.

But it gets worse for the bears. The US Senate for some reason was supposed to come up with a decision on whether Polar Bears should be put on the endangered species list in early January. However that decision remains postponed, with the most recent reason being the failure of the committee chairman to show up for the meeting.

Who knew that the US had Polar Bears or that they were that concerned about endangered species in general. Certainly seems out of character. Until in the next article announcing a possible decision by the summer, we discover that the oil industry might have to curb exploration and possibly drilling if the Polar Bears are put on the endangered list. Well that explains their interest and the indecision.

So how does that affect the bears. From the Globe article here: American hunters are now rebooking their hunting trips for the big bear.
The rules of engagement are simple: The trophy must be male and at least 2.4 metres tall. And since March, big-game hunters, mainly Americans, clad head to toe in caribou-skin outfits and riding dogsleds, have been on the hunt in Canada's Arctic for one of the most controversial animals on the planet: polar bears. In this male-dominated, high-priced world, where Inuit-guided hunts can run more than $40,000 (U.S.), bigger is better, right down to the animal's baculum, or penis bone. But this year, the stakes to bag the iconic predator before the annual season ends next month are at an all-time high...
That sort of shoots "they are just like cows in the south" argument dead. At $40,000 a pop for guided hunts, you only have to work for three months of the year.

Meanwhile for the bears: the polar ice cap is melting, even the Inuit hunters admit that they are thinner than in the past, the bears have actually starting mating with Grizzlies as they move south and we, Canadians are arguing about whether we can kill 64 this year on Baffin Island instead of the 105 that were allowed to be killed last year.

Maybe we can set up new rules for killing Polar Bears. A lottery perhaps, similar to the one we presently use to kill Moose. Except to make it more exciting for the hunters, and a bit more fair for the bears, you know since there are less of them now, we could pre-tag all the bears with first names. Each authorized hunter would draw a name for execution and then using the scopes on their high powered rifles, they would have to find Tom or Sally before they were allowed to shoot. Think of the more personalized stories they can tell their grandchildren, "Hunting Polar Bears was a lot more difficult back in my day. I remember the time I bagged old Larry. I had to look at all 500 of them, before I could find him"

I was going to find the video on You Tube showing starving Polar Bears, drowning in warm water, that ran on the news from a year ago, but I just can't watch it any more. 

Meanwhile my grandson who was born yesterday will grow up in a world where Polar Bears are nothing more than the plastic dinosaurs are today.

To learn more go to Polar Bears International and rip off the pictures, you can save them for your grand kids.

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