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Canada bans Baffin Bay polar bear exports

While acknowledging that the polar bear population
has increased

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22 Jan 10 - Inuit in Canada are not pleased with the federal government for quietly banning the export of polar bear parts in Nunavut's Baffin Bay area. The ban took effect on January 1st of this year.

Although some scientists say that the polar bear population in Baffin Bay has declined, Inuit hunters argue that they've seen more, not fewer, polar bears in the region.

"It's ludicrous," said Titus Allooloo, a hunting outfitter who takes sport hunters from around the world to Baffin Bay.

"According to the local scientists, the Inuit traditional knowledge, the population of that particular area is increasing."

Allooloo said he has seen upwards of 10 to 15 polar bears a day when he's in the region.

Environment Canada acknowledges Inuit observations of more polar bears in Baffin Bay, but says it is imposing the trade ban as a precautionary measure "as there is available evidence for conservation concern." (Sounds like double-speak to me.)

Inuit say the government's figures are based on computer models that use old data from 1997, when the last physical survey of Baffin Bay polar bears took place.

There are no plans for an updated survey until 2014.

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