Polar bears threatened by warming and rich hunters


In this video, a ‘female and male polar bear meet on sea ice 40 km offshore south of Svalbard in the Barents Sea. Recorded from KV Svalbard April 2006 during the ProClim project‘.

From The Independent in Britain:

The appalling fate of the polar bear, symbol of the Arctic

It has been declared at risk by conservation groups. Yet rich Westerners are paying thousands of dollars for the privilege of shooting an animal whose very existence is already threatened by environmental disaster. Geoffrey Lean reports from Ilulissat, Greenland, on a fight for survival.

Trophy Hunting May Push Polar Bears to “Tipping Point”: here.

9 thoughts on “Polar bears threatened by warming and rich hunters

  1. ‘Paid hunting,’ privatized wildlife feared on horizon

    Provincial trial will pay landowners to care for habitat, allow hunting

    Hanneke Brooymans, The Edmonton Journal

    Published: Tuesday, March 31, 2009

    Hunters and environmentalists are concerned about a provincial government pilot project that will pay landowners to maintain wildlife habitat and allow hunting on their land.

    The three-year project is restricted to the southwest of the province, but there are fears that if expanded it could lead to “paid hunting” and the privatization of wildlife.

    But Alberta Sustainable Resource Development says it merely wants to encourage owners to take care of habitat on their land, and hopes to expand hunting opportunities in areas with more private than public land and have a way to reduce deer populations when they get too high.
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    Landowner compensation payments will be calculated based on a maximum of $10 per day for habitat and $10 per day for allowing access. Maximum compensation available to a landowner would be based on a sliding scale from $2,000 to $10,000 per year, based on the size of the property.

    The Recreational Access Management Program will be evaluated after three years by scientists at the University of Calgary.

    “Prior to this being expanded throughout the province, of course we would continue to consult with our stakeholders,” said Darcy Whiteside, a department spokesman.

    There’s not much support among the 19,000 members of the Alberta Fish and Game Association for the plan. Only six delegates out of 200 voted in favour of the program at the annual general meeting in February, said Quentin Bochar, association president.

    “Most of us feel we do need to recognize landowners, but there are better ways to do it.”

    Bochar said his group agrees there should be some form of habitat reward program, but thinks government compensation for hunting could create problems.

    “What are all those landowners up north going to start thinking if this things works? Who’s going to pay for the project in the end? Is the government going to be able to afford to pay if this goes provincewide, or is it going to come out of the pockets of the private hunter?”

    That would mean ushering in paid hunting, Bochar said, which he defined as any exchange of payment for exclusive hunting or fishing access.

    “We are very aware of people’s views of paid hunting in the province, and it’s something we respect,” Whiteside said.

    Paid hunting is illegal in Alberta and legislation would have to change for that to happen, he said.

    The government will also have to figure out whether the program would only work in wildlife management areas similar to the two pilot areas, where there is more private than public land, Whiteside said. The current areas consist of about 86 per cent private land, which means access to hunting on public land is limited.

    The Alberta Wilderness Association is worried the idea could lead in the direction of privatizing wildlife, said Nigel Douglas, a conservation specialist with the association.

    Douglas said his group agrees landowners should be rewarded for good habitat stewardship. But the current program focuses too much on managing habitat for wildlife that can be hunted, rather than for all wildlife.

    He said the province should focus on managing public lands properly before looking at how other people manage their land. Grizzly bears and woodland caribou are struggling to survive on provincial land, he said.

    hbrooymans@thejournal.canwest.com

    © The Edmonton Journal 2009

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