Should polar bear hunting be legal? It’s complicated.
As hunters target bigger polar bears for their luxurious pelts, one researcher fears we are reversing natural selection.
Countries around the world agree that polar bears are in trouble: They’re considered threatened in the United States, of special concern in Canada, and vulnerable internationally. Yet in much of their icy habitat, it’s perfectly legal to pick up a gun and shoot one.
In Canada, home to nearly two-thirds of the world’s estimated 25,000 remaining polar bears, the animals are hunted both for their meat and for their thick, furry white pelts. The Canadian government and conservation groups alike have long held that polar bear hunting in Canada is sustainable. But in his new book, Polar Bears and Humans, Ole Liodden, a Norwegian polar bear researcher, argues that it’s not.
For decades, Canada has been the