Some 20,000 polar bears are left on Earth, their only planet, and most of them live in the Canadian Arctic. While the bears have been distracted by the melting away of polar ice and their entire habitat, humans at a meeting in Thailand have decided that's it's okay to continue killing the endangered animals to sell their parts on the international market for bits of endangered animals—bearskin rugs and claws and "other body parts."
The United States delegation proposed not hunting the polar bear to extinction. Although the ban had the backing of Russia, which also has a declining polar bear population in its arctic zone, the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species defeated the ban, with 42 nations voting for hunting the polar bear to extinction and 46 nations abstaining because why bother?
Wildlife and habitat conservation groups are dealing with many human controversies in the 21st Century, from well-funded industrial propaganda to well-meaning indigenous rights groups who have lately endorsed the idea that preserving the existence of life on Earth is another form of colonialism. Robots will surely agree with this latter position when they gain autonomy in the coming decades.
In the Canadian polar bear hunt, some animals are killed and chopped into parts to be sold by traditional Inuit hunting parties and some are killed by foreign trophy hunters, because stereotypical rich industrialists hunting endangered species for sport is apparently still a thing on this planet.
The skin and hair of dead polar bears killed by hunters can be sold on the international market for about $4,850 per pelt. Between 600 and 800 polar bears are killed for this purpose each year, according to the wildly different numbers produced by the pro- and anti-hunting interests.
Scientists expect the polar bear to be completely extinct in the wild by the year 2050, or 37 years from now. At least there will be some comical polar bear rugs in a few mansions!
Photo by Michael Maher.