Canada Declares Polar Bears "Species Of Special Concern"Canada News, Bear Hunting Magazine
Canada's environmental agency has officially declared the polar bear as a "species of special concern." This level is one level below threatened and two levels below endangered under Canada's Species At Risk Act. The listing under this act requires a comprehensive management plan within three years.
Canada is home to two-thirds of the world's polar bear population, estimated to be around 15,000 in the country.
Environment Canada consulted with provincial and territorial governments, regional wildlife management boards, aboriginals and other stakeholders before making the declaration.
Many in the northern parts of Canada were not in favor of listing the polar bear. While many who live in these areas feel climate change may be affecting polar bears, they also observe that wildlife populations normally fluctuate and move, and that polar bears are very adaptable. Many believe that the population is increasing rather than decreasing and that the polar bears are appearing in different places.
In southern areas of Canada, the vast majority of those expressing opinions supported the move.
About 534 polar bears are killed annually in Canada, 325 of them by Inuit in Nunavut. Some are allocated to a commercial sport hunt which employs Inuit guides and outfitters. A single large polar bear can yield about 200 kilograms (roughly 440 pounds) of edible meat, which is consumed by many of the locals in northern Canada.