Sunday, 18 March 2012

The newest fad

One of the British newspapers has been giving quite an airtime to the rising incidence of big game hunting. In particular (and recently), it kicked up quite a hornet’s nest upon claiming that big game hunting is the newest fad of the nouveau riche of the emerging economies. This gap in the ‘market’ was identified by Scott Lupien who promptly established a ‘hunting consultancy’ called ‘I Love Hunting Club’ in Beijing, providing opportunities for the well-heeled enthusiasts to hunt in all 5 continents. Supposedly, everything is legal, with necessary governmental permission. Clients are flown into the hunting grounds, given a fast-track training, and taken out on the field. Hunted animals include gazelle, zebra, moose, black bears, pumas, lions (USD 50,000 for male and USD 15 for female), rhinos (USD 100,000 and above), and apparently polar bears (USD 61500, including taxidermy and transportation to the home country).

Lupien has since responded to the Daily Mail article claiming that he hasn’t been on a polar bear hunt. But what did emerge was how the Canadian government has been ‘managing’ polar bear populations since 1973: annual quotas (approx. 500) are issued each year, mainly to the Inuit. By employing the Inuit as guides, these quotas are utilised by the trophy hunters. The Inuit also benefit economically since these well-heeled clientele set up their base camps in their villages and purchase ethnic clothing and memorabilia. Pro-trophy hunters claim that they are doing their part for the environment by hunting male polar bears which may kill young cubs, preserving the food chain, and so on. In the meantime, the backlash from the news story has resulted in cancellation of a hunting trip from China to Resolute, one of the northernmost Inuit communities. Which makes one wonder what is the truth?

News sources:
Image source: Ron Chapple


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