Vancouver – A new analysis shows Chinese consumers with an appetite for luxury have taken over from American sport hunters as the main buyers of Canadian polar bear fur.
But the study concludes there’s no reason to believe that the sale of bear hides or other parts threatens the animal’s future.
Ernest Cooper, who was to present the study at an Arctic conference in Vancouver, says China has imported more than 40 per cent of all Canadian polar bear hides since 2010.
That’s as many as 400 hides a year.
But he says the annual number of bears hunted hasn’t grown.
Cooper says recent prices of about five-thousand dollars a hide have encouraged hunters to sell old bear pelts they had from previous seasons.
Countries such as the United States have argued that the trade in polar bear hides should end to protect the bears.
But Cooper says destroying the value of those hides for hunters could actually make it harder to track what’s happening with polar bear populations.
The Canadian Press