POLAR BEAR SKIN TRADE

 

Traditionally, Inuit hunters used the skin and meat of the polar bears they hunted for subsistence purposes. Nowadays, with the ability to earn more money through the skin trade, Inuit hunters are tempted to engage in commercial hunting practices that target the largest, fittest animals with the best fur quality. Partaking in the skin trade may secure more money for local settlements, but it also causes ecological and genetic challenges for polar bears trying to survive in a warmer Arctic climate.

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THE TRADE CHAIN
To understand the market of polar bear skins, it is important to identify the players in the trade chain: who they are, where they are located and what motivates them. READ MORE

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THE EXPORTING COUNTRIES
Since the Polar Bear Treaty in 1973, there have been two main exporting countries of polar bear skins – Canada and Greenland. READ MORE

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THE IMPORTING COUNTRIES
15,029 polar bear skins, rugs, bodies and trophies have been listed in the CITES trade database as exported from 1976–2015. Which countries have imported them? READ MORE

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THE ECONOMIC VALUE
After a polar bear is killed, its body can be used or sold for different purposes. Whether it becomes dog food or a fully mounted trophy, a dead polar bear’s economic value depends on its size, condition and fur quality. READ MORE