A campaign to ban trophy hunting has shared images of dead polar bears and other animals which are used to promote hunting trips and expeditions.
Hunting expeditions usually involve companies organising trips for individuals, who pay thousands of pounds, to stalk and kill large animals in their natural habitat.
Despite their vulnerable status on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, reports suggest as many as 5,000 polar bears have been killed by hunting expeditions in the Arctic Circle in recent years.
The animal tourism trade is reportedly on the rise, with hunting trips in parts of Canada which extend into the Arctic Circle becoming more and more popular. Since 1995, 17 polar bear trophies have been legally imported into the UK alone, as the specialist hunting companies target wealthy Brits, Americans and Chinese people, according to the Mirror.
Eduardo Gonçalves, one of the driving forces behind the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, said:
It is well known polar bears are in serious danger of becoming extinct because of climate change.
If we want to see them survive, we need to stop the senseless slaughter. The Government should ban imports of all hunting trophies right away.
While hunting trips in places like South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe are often popular, the trend for hunting in the Arctic Circle seems to be rising.
For example, 12-day hunting trips in the Arctic can be experienced for the hefty sum of £36,000. This includes the services of a taxidermist, who will turn the killed animals into rugs and wall hangings for the hunters to take home.
One company, the Nebraska-based Worldwide Trophy Adventures, boasts that if hunters don’t manage to kill an animal, they will give them an extra 10 days, saying they can ‘return for another 10 days if a polar bear is not taken’.
— Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting (@CBTHunting) July 27, 2019
The site states:
Hunting is carried out on the sea ice in prime areas. Services of an Inuit polar bear guide with a team is provided through the duration of the hunt. The hunt ends when a bear is harvested.
While another firm, Quality Hunts, gives hunters a 100 per cent ‘success rate’ in hunting polar bears, with prices starting at $39,500 for a 12-day expedition. The trip also apparently includes the services of an Inuit guide, who helps track the animals, and the taxidermy of animals after the hunt.
While Inuit communities are allowed to kill a set number of bears and walruses in a season, as Inuit communities have done historically, some Canadian Inuit communities are said to be selling the licences for blood sports.
In 2008, the US government declared polar bears an endangered species, and prohibited US hunters from bringing their trophies back to the US from Canada.
So far, Norway is the only country to have banned all hunting, while Russia, Greenland and Alaska, in America, only allow native communities to hunt bears for food.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.