More polar bears could be killed by wealthy trophy hunters under a proposed bill that would allow their heads and skins to be shipped back to the U.S. from Canada.
"This bill is absolutely a disaster," Anja Heister, of In Defense of Animals, told The Dodo. The proposed Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015, which is being lauded by the National Rifle Association, "would clearly encourage trophy hunters to continue to kill rare species globally and then wait for the waiver to import these trophies back home," she said.
Unlike polar bears living in Alaska, Russia, Norway and Greenland, Canadian polar bears can be legally hunted by nonindigenous peoples, according to Polar Bears International, despite their status as a threatened species. It's currently illegal to import polar bear remains into the U.S. under the Endangered Species Act, but this bill could change that.
Allowing hunters to import polar bear "trophies" from hunting trips could prove a slippery slope, according to Mitch Merry, of the Endangered Species Coalition. "Our concern is that this could signal to trophy hunters that Congress will also give them similar exemptions in the future," Merry told The Dodo.