The Nature and Significance of Polar Bear Conservation Hunting in the Canadian Arctic

  • M.M.R. Freeman
  • G.W. Wenzel
Keywords: conservation hunting, community-based management, conservation, polar bears, trophy hunting


The history and current status of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) conservation hunting in the Canadian Arctic, where trophy hunts by non-local hunters have steadily increased in number over the past three decades, have been influenced by local and international factors. Although polar bear hides taken in the subsistence hunt have commercial value, revenues from nonresident trophy hunting provide a much greater economic return to the Inuit. Research suggests that these greater cash returns and the increased local interest by Native hunters in outfitting and guiding do not threaten community cultural values, which continue to emphasize subsistence and the conservation of local wildlife resources. These outcomes suggest that community-based polar bear trophy hunts provide an example of a successful conservation-hunting program that contributes to wildlife management and sustainable economic and community development in the Canadian Arctic.