Free Trade Helps Polar Bears, Too
When Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne listed the polar bear as a threatened species in May of 2008 (perhaps under duress, perhaps voluntarily), Planet Gore contributors argued that the decision was based on bad science and would lead to greater abuses by the EPA. One consequence of the listing was a ban on importing polar-bear parts (chiefly hides) into the United States, mostly from Canada. The intent of this ban was to protect the polar-bear population, but now it turns out that the ban may be neither necessary nor effective. Traffic International, a conservationist group that monitors cross-border trade in threatened species, has decided the polar-bear population is not threatened enough to warrant a trade ban. And as radio host Lars Larson points out today over on the Corner, trophy hunting of polar bears is actually better for maintaining the population than the alternative (hunting by indigenous people) would be.