Article

What happened to climate change? CITES and the reconfiguration of polar bear conservation discourse

Article

What happened to climate change? CITES and the reconfiguration of polar bear conservation discourse

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Abstract

In the past decade, polar bears have become the poster species of climate change. But in March 2013, a joint proposal by the governments of the United States and the Russian Federation to up-list polar bears to Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) diverted public attention from climate change towards the hunting of polar bears. Prior to a vote on the proposal, non-governmental organisations spear-headed a media campaign to support the up-listing. In the United Kingdom the campaign received support from celebrities and was widely reported in English language news media. Narratives of commercial legal and illegal polar bear hunting and the imminent extinction of polar bears were aggressively promoted, rhetorically supported by the manipulation of trade and scientific data. By rendering discourses of commercial hunting and a lucrative global trade in polar bear parts highly visible, sustainable hunting and climate change-induced habitat loss were rendered invisible. Media reports of commercial hunting de-coupled polar bear conservation from climate change mitigation, and disassociated polar bear hunting from regulated indigenous subsistence practices. A review of current polar bear conservation measures and an analysis of media coverage leading up to the CITES decision reveal these conflicting discourses, and suggest that more nuanced media coverage of polar bear conservation is necessary if appropriate multilateral conservation policies are to be enacted and publicly supported.

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... The average price is a more accurate representation of hide values. Tyrrell and Clark (2014) reviewed media reports about polar bears in the months preceding CoP 16. They found that prior to January 15, 2013 (when the first fur auction of 2013 took place) only two news stories covered the proposed CITES up-listing. ...
... Almost without exception, Canadian newspapers reported the proposed transfer to CITES Appendix I as a threat to Canadian autonomy and to Inuit culture and economy. The threat, in the Canadian media, was not to polar bears, but to polar bear hunters and to Canada's ability to manage its own natural resources (Tyrrell & Clark, 2014). Tyrrell and Clark (2014) only reviewed the English language media. ...
... The threat, in the Canadian media, was not to polar bears, but to polar bear hunters and to Canada's ability to manage its own natural resources (Tyrrell & Clark, 2014). Tyrrell and Clark (2014) only reviewed the English language media. The level of coverage in China, the primary market for polar bear hides, isn't readily available. ...
Technical Report
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The purpose of this study was to improve the understanding of polar bear trade dynamics by examining the Canadian exports of polar bear hides and skulls in recent years. The specific goals were as follows: • To update the analysis of polar bear trade data provided in Shadbolt et al. (2012). • To review the prices paid for polar bear hides at auction and assess the impact of high prices on polar bear conservation. • To map the Canadian domestic trade chain for polar bear products. Shadbolt et al. (2012) reviewed the international trade in polar bear products, including exports from Canada, for the years 2005–2009. Data for Canadian exports in 2010–2014 were provided by the Canadian CITES Scientific Authority (SA) and were compiled from three different sources: the 2010 CITES annual report; the National Enforcement Management Information System and Intelligence System (NEMISIS); and the CITES Electronic Permitting System (CEPS). Some additional data were taken from the United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) CITES Trade Database. Hunting quotas and the numbers of bears killed in each province and territory for the years 2007/08 to 2013/14 were provided by the jurisdictional authorities. Data on polar bear hide auction results for the years 2008–2014 were provided by the Government of Nunavut. The domestic trade chain and associated regulatory requirements were documented using the information compiled for other parts of this report. All parts of this report were completed in consultation with relevant literature and experts. The results and conclusions of this study are summarized below: Analysis of Canadian trade data • During the years 2005–2013 the total number of hides annually exported from Canada gradually increased from 266 to 400; and then dropped to 217 in 2014. More hides were exported in the years 2010–2014 than in 2005–2009. • The numbers of skulls annually exported from Canada peaked at a high of 168 (in 2007) and then dropped to 98 (in 2008). In the subsequent years the number of skulls exported ranged from 37–57 except in 2011, when the number jumped anomalously to 83 due to a commercial export of 23 skulls to a French importer. • Between 2005 and 2014 the main purpose of export shifted from hunting trophies (hides and skulls) going to the United States, to hides exported to China for commercial purposes. This shift was the result of the United States listing the polar bear on the ESA in 2008 and prohibiting the importation of all polar bear products, concurrent with the Chinese market opening up. • Prior to 2008 there was strong financial incentive for communities in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to reallocate subsistence hunting tags to sport hunting. The loss of most of the sport hunting market meant a drop in income and increased incentive for selling polar bear hides commercially. • The loss of the United States sport hunter market, financial need, growing Chinese market for hides, and rising auction prices paid for polar bear hides all helped trigger increased polar bear hunting in 2011–2013. • In 2005–2007, more polar bear hides were exported to the United States than to any other single country. The number of hides exported to the United States peaked sharply in 2007 and then dropped significantly in 2008 due to the US ESA importation prohibition. No polar bear hides were exported from Canada to the United States after 2009. • In 2005 China only imported 12 polar bear hides from Canada. The number of hides exported to China steadily rose each subsequent year (except 2014) and in 2009 China overtook the United States as the single biggest importer of polar bear hides. China has remained the primary destination for Canadian polar bear hides since then. • Germany, Norway and Russia were key destination countries for polar bear hides in 2005–2009. In 2010–2014 these three countries each imported fewer hides than in the previous five years and became far less significant as destination countries in comparison to China. • In 2005–2008 more skulls were exported to the United States than to any other single country. The number exported to the United States peaked sharply in 2007 and then dropped in 2008. As the US market for skulls diminished, no other country took its place as the dominant importer of skulls. Fewer skulls were exported from Canada in 2010–2014 than in 2005–2008. • In the years 2005–2010 Canada annually exported approximately 300 polar bears as hides and/or skulls. The number exported rose to approximately 400 bears in 2012 and 2013 before dropping to 233 in 2014. The number of bears exported in 2014 was the lowest of any year studied. • The number of bears represented by skulls and hides exported in each year, on average, was 58% of the number of bears hunted in that same year. • A review of the hunting tag data for 2013 and 2014 found that the polar bear hides exported in those years came from bears killed in many different previous hunting seasons, dating as far back as 1985/86. Only 25% of the hides exported in each year came from bears killed in the most recent hunting season. Analysis of auction prices • The top price paid for hides at fur auctions fell after May 2008 and the average price paid slowly dropped in subsequent years to a low in January 2010. In May 2010 the prices paid for polar bear hides at auction increased dramatically. Both the top and the average prices for polar bear hides increased annually until January 2013 when they dropped slightly. Both prices jumped in May 2013. In 2014 the top and average prices dropped back to values consistent with January 2013. The average price paid for a polar bear hide in 2014 was approximately twice that paid in 2008. • The increased prices paid for polar bear hides at auction beginning in the spring of 2010 correlated with an increased number of polar bears reported killed in Canada starting in the 2010/11 hunting season. The higher prices may have stimulated increased hunting in the Northwest Territories and Québec. However, the higher numbers reported killed in Québec since the 2010/11 season were at least partially due to better reporting and not only an increase in kills. The number of bears killed in Canada dropped significantly in 2014 correlated with a drop in the total Canadian hunting quota, despite prices for hides remaining high. • The total Canadian hunting quota has decreased steadily since the 2007/08 hunting season. There is no indication that the prices paid for polar bear hides at auction had any impact on the setting of hunting quotas. • The prices paid for polar bear hides jumped significantly at the fur auctions held immediately after CoP15 and CoP16, when the proposals to list the polar bear on CITES Appendix I were debated. Suggestions that price increases were due to buyers wanting to get a hide before commercial trade was prohibited by a CITES Appendix I listing were unfounded as the prices increased after, not prior to the CoPs. It appears that publicity about the proposals may have influenced prices both after each CoP (when prices jumped) and immediately before CoP16, when prices dropped slightly due to reduced demand. However, the increased prices paid for polar bear hides in those years also correlate to a sharp jump in the Chinese fur market that was not exclusive to polar bear hides. Exactly how much influence the publicity surrounding the proposals to list the polar bear on CITES Appendix I had on hide prices is unclear. Canadian chain of custody for polar bear parts and products • There is some variation between jurisdictions, but the differences are minimal. In the Northwest Territories and Nunavut subsistence hunting tags may be reallocated to sport hunting. But the results of all hunts are required to be properly reported and the tag cancelled. In Québec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, hunters may sell polar bear hides via government programs that provide an advance to the hunter. Otherwise, the movement of hides, the process of applying for CITES Export Permits, and export of the hides is the same for each jurisdiction. Sport hunters must complete a different CITES permit application form than that required for commercial or personal exports. The number of bears exported from each province and territory in 2014 (the only year these data were available for) was proportional to the number of bears killed in each jurisdiction. China was the primary destination country for hides from every jurisdiction.
... In this way, grizzly bears figure prominently in rapid changes to natural resource management governance processes on the coast. the past two decades polar bears have also become potent symbols in global efforts to combat climate change (Clark et al. 2008;Tyrrell and Clark 2014), largely based on research findings that pointed to a decline in the western Hudson Bay polar bear population (Stirling et al. 1999). Those scientific estimates of population status were contested by local and Indigenous peoples (Tyrrell 2006;Dowsley and Wenzel 2008;Nirlungayuk and Lee 2009), and more recent population estimates are in line with local perceptions that the population is not currently declining (Stapleton et al. 2014;Lunn et al. 2016;Dyck et al. 2017). ...
Article
Grizzly bears and polar bears often serve as ecological “flagship species” in conservation efforts, but although consumptively used in some areas and cultures they can also be important cultural keystone species even where not hunted. We extend the application of established criteria for defining cultural keystone species to also encompass species with which cultures have a primarily nonconsumptive relationship but that are nonetheless disproportionately important to well-being and identity. Grizzly bears in coastal British Columbia are closely linked to many Indigenous Peoples (including the Haíɫzaqv (Heiltsuk), Kitasoo/Xai’xais, and Nuxalk First Nations), where they are central to the identity, culture, and livelihoods of individuals, families, Chiefs, and Nations. Polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba, provide another example as a cultural keystone species for a mixed Indigenous and non-Indigenous community in which many of the livelihood benefits from the species are mediated by economic transactions in a globalized tourism market. We discuss context specificity and questions of equity in sharing of benefits from cultural keystone species. Our expanded definition of cultural keystone species gives broader recognition of the beyond-ecological importance of these species to Indigenous Peoples, which highlights the societal and ecological importance of Indigenous sovereignty and could facilitate the increased cross-cultural understanding critical to reconciliation.
... As a sign of respect, the whole animal is used. Trophy hunts provide employment income for diverse Inuit workers, recirculating money in local, largely subsistence, economies (Tyrrell and Clark, 2014;Wong and Murphy, 2016). Inuit spirituality, sacredness and pragmatic adaptation are inseparable. ...
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The Arctic and its animals figure prominently as icons of climate change in Western imaginaries. Persuasive storytelling centred on compelling animal icons, like the polar bear, is a powerful strategy to frame environmental challenges, mobilizing collective global efforts to resist environmental degradation and species endangerment. The power of the polar bear in Western climate imagery is in part derived from the perceived “environmental sacredness” of the animal that has gained a totem-like status. In dominant “global” discourses, this connotation often works to the detriment of Indigenous peoples, for whom animals signify complex socio-ecological relations and cultural histories. This Perspective article offers a reflexive analysis on the symbolic power of the polar bear totem and the discursive exclusion of Indigenous peoples, informed by attendance during 2015–2017 at annual global climate change negotiations and research during 2016–2018 in Canada’s Nunavut Territory. The polar bear’s totem-like status in Western imaginaries exposes three discursive tensions that infuse climate change perception, activism, representation and Indigenous citizenship. The first tension concerns the global climate crisis, and its perceived threat to ecologically significant or sacred species, contrasted with locally lived realities. The second tension concerns a perceived sacred Arctic that is global, pristine, fragile and “contemplated,” but simultaneously local, hazardous, sustaining and lived. The third tension concerns Indigenization, distorted under a global climate gaze that reimagines the role of Indigenous peoples. Current discursive hegemony over the Arctic serves to place Indigenous peoples in stasis and restricts the space for Arctic Indigenous engagement and voice.
... These organizations employ a range of tactics in pursuit of their often narrow agendas, including framing issues as having a single policy response, (e.g., a trade ban). Examples of this are the 1989 elephant ivory trade ban (109) and proposals to include the polar bear in Appendix I at CoP15 and CoP16 (116). NGOs also work with receptive Parties on proposals to amend the appendices, and thereby play a role in setting the agenda at meetings: They also lobby to influence the position of other actors, most notably Parties. ...
Preprint
This is the final version of the previously uploaded draft entitled 'IWT: Patterns, Processes and Governance' (which contains errors). Please contact me if you would like access to a pre-print copy of this final version.
... Well (Humphreys, 2009;Lansing, 2011;Stanley, Marsden, & Milbourne, 2005), ecological modernization (Berger, Flynn, Hines, & Johns, 2001;Mol, 2002;Pataki, 2009;Spaargaren & Mol, 1992;Toke & Raghavan, 2010), sustainable development (Harlow, Golub, & Allenby, 2013;Vanhulst & Beling, 2014) as well as discourses related to nature conservation (Bixler, Dell' Angelo, Mfune, & Hassan Roba, 2015;Bryant, 2000;Buijs, Mattijssen, & Arts, 2014;Campbell, 2007;De Koning et al., 2014;Espinosa, 2013;Tyrrell & Clark, 2014), biodiversity (Durand & Vázquez, 2011;Seppänen & Väliverronen, 2003;Väliverronen, 1998), participation, in particular of marginalized groups in decision making (Medina, Pokorny, & Weigelt, 2009;Mert, 2009), the bioeconomy (Levidow, Birch, & Papaioannou, 2012;Pülzl, Kleinschmit, & Arts, 2014) and environmental justice/rights of nature (Espinosa, 2014;Stanley, 2009). Alongside these established research areas and subjects, discourse analysis recently attracted the attention of socio-technical transitions scholars. ...
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Since the mid-1990s, discourse analysis has become an increasingly established framework in environmental policy analysis. The field has diversified in terms of conceptual approaches, methods, topics, and geographies. This special issue revisits trends and traditions regarding theoretical and methodological approaches, ‘old’ and ‘new’ discourses, and our knowledge about discursive effects. We contextualize and discuss the twelve contributions to this special issue against the broader trajectory of the field over the past 25 years. Our analysis reveals an abundance of theoretical approaches with limited cross-fertilization, a plethora of rich case studies but few attempts at meta-analysis, and subtle accounts of discursive effects on discourse, policy and practice without an overarching framework. We suggest seven directions for the field’s future evolution: a need for more comparative and multiple-case studies, theoretical cross-fertilization, pro-active integration of non-English-speaking research contexts, development of methodological capabilities to capture discursive developments across larger numbers of publics and policy arenas, a more explicit conceptualization of agency, power and materiality, a stronger collaboration with transdisciplinary approaches, and a reflexive engagement with the ‘critical’ ambition of discourse analysis.
... organizations employ a range of tactics in pursuit of their often narrow agendas, including framing issues as having a single policy response, (e.g., a trade ban). Examples of this are the 1989 elephant ivory trade ban (125) and proposals to include the polar bear in Appendix I at CoP15 and CoP16 (131). NGOs also work with receptive Parties on proposals to amend the appendices, and thereby play a role in setting the agenda at meetings: They also lobby to influence the position of other actors, most notably Parties. ...
Article
Illegal wildlife trade (IWT) has increased in profile in recent years as a global policy issue, largely because of its association with declines in prominent internationally trafficked species. In this review, we explore the scale of IWT, associated threats to biodiversity, and appropriate responses to these threats. We discuss the historical development of IWT research and highlight the uncertainties that plague the evidence base, emphasizing the need for more systematic approaches to addressing evidence gaps in a way that minimizes the risk of unethical or counterproductive outcomes for wildlife and people. We highlight the need for evaluating interventions in order to learn, and the importance of sharing datasets and lessons learned. A more collaborative approach to linking IWT research, practice, and policy would better align public policy discourse and action with research evidence. This in turn would enable more effective policy making that contributes to reducing the threat to biodiversity that IWT represents. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Volume 44 is October 17, 2019. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
... Designations and criticism by these organizations have resulted in restrictions in Nunavut and probably propagate Inuit feelings of resentment towards international organizations influencing polar bear management outcomes in Nunavut (Dowsley and Wenzel, 2008;Nirlungayuk and Lee, 2009). For example, the PBSG Resolution Number One states that traditional knowledge only carries weight if it is validated by Western science (Clark et al., 2008), and trade restrictions on polar bear parts under the agreements listed above have reduced local economic gain and control related to sport hunting in Nunavut (Clark et al., 2013;Tyrrell and Clark, 2014). ...
Article
We explored Inuit attitudes towards co-managing wildlife in the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut, Canada, working in partnership with the hunters and trappers’ organizations of Igluligaarjuk (Chesterfield Inlet), Tikirarjuaq (Whale Cove), and Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake). In mixed-methods interviews, study participants in the two coastal communities described dissatisfaction with polar bear (Ursus maritimus) management outcomes, in contrast to a general satisfaction with (or indifference to) the management of other species. Interviewees expressed concern about grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) and, more prominently, caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) populations in Qamani’tuaq, the inland community. Researchers have predicted that conflicts specific to polar bear management could lead to regulations being ignored or even defied and endanger the entire system of wildlife co-management. Our results indicate that dissatisfaction over decisions is specific to polar bear management outcomes and does not necessarily apply to the broader system of wildlife co-management. The results suggest that the Nunavut wildlife co-management system is quite functional: polar bear issues aside, Inuit in Qamani’tuaq, Tikirarjuaq, and Igluligaarjuk are largely content with the current functioning of the wildlife co-management regime.
... Repeated conflicts over the management of Arctic wildlife have been driven by failure to resolve competing claims about the state of the ecosystem (Hay et al. 2000;Kendrick 2002;Kofinas 2005). The best documented example of such a conflict is over the management of polar bears (Meek 2011;Nirlungayuk and Lee 2009;Tyrrell and Clark 2014), where scientific management institutions and local Canadian Inuit communities disagree on estimates of bear populations. Overly strict quotas meant that hunters lost vital income, and the erosion of trust has genuinely harmed relations between the Inuit and the state. ...
Chapter
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• The Arctic is undergoing rapid, sometimes turbulent change beyond anything previously experienced. That change is due to climate change, resource extraction, tourism, political change and other factors, driven primarily from outside the Arctic – and it has global implications. • Within the rctic, the integrity of ecosystems and the sustainability ofcommunities are being challenged, affecting how people live and pursue their livelihoods. • Understanding Arctic change requires a systemic perspective that integrates human and natural dynamics. We apply a social-ecological systems approach, which assumes that to adequately understand either social or ecological systems, we need to understand how they interact. • Our analysis focuses on the resilience of social-ecological systems in the Arctic, which we define as the capacity to navigate change by adapting or reorganizing in response to stress and shocks in ways that maintain essential identity, function and structures.
... Narratives and oral histories have long been used as a tool to acknowledge indigenous knowledge and other ways of knowing that can be submerged by mainstream and scientific discourses. Tyrrell and Clark (2014), for example, examine how different narratives of polar bear conservation, particularly losses due to commercial hunting, rendered invisible Inuit perspectives and the larger discourse on climate change. Winkel (2014) uses the analysis of narratives circulated among stakeholders in the US Pacific Northwest forest policy to explain the persistence of polarization long past the paradigm shift that occurred in 1993 when production forestry was replaced by ecological and social forestry. ...
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... 16 A reduction in international trade of polar bear parts/products is not equivalent to a reduction in polar bear take or 17 harvest. Polar bear harvest is primarily for subsistence, governed by a quota system, and a change to Appendix I wouldClark et al., 2013; Tyrrell and Clark, 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
CITES regulates international trade with the goal of preventing over-exploitation, thus the survival of species are not jeopardized from trade practices; however it has been used recently in nontrade conservation measures. As an example, the US proposed to up-list polar bears under CITES Appendix I, despite that the species did not conform to the biological criteria. Polar bears were listed as ‘threatened’ under US ESA in 2008, in response to loss of sea-ice and warming temperatures. In Nunavut, where most of Canada’s polar bears are harvested, the resulting trade ban did not decrease total harvest after the ESA listing but reduced US hunter participation and the proportion of quotas taken by sport hunters from specific populations. Consequently, the import ban impacted livelihoods of Arctic indigenous communities with negative conservation - reduced tolerance for dangerous fauna and affected local participation in shared management initiatives. The polar bear may be the exemplar of an emerging problem: the use of trade bans in place of action for non-trade threats, e.g., climate change. Conservation prospects for this species and other climate-sensitive wildlife will likely diminish if the increasing use of trade bans to combat not-trade issues cause stakeholders to lose faith in participatory management.
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Book
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To inform the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision, whether or not to list polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), we projected the status of the world's polar bears (Ursus maritimus) for decades centered on future years 2025, 2050, 2075, and 2095. We defined four ecoregions based on current and projected sea ice conditions: seasonal ice, Canadian Archipelago, polar basin divergent, and polar basin convergent ecoregions. We incorporated general circulation model projections of future sea ice into a Bayesian network (BN) model structured around the factors considered in ESA decisions. This first-generation BN model combined empirical data, interpretations of data, and professional judgments of one polar bear expert into a probabilistic framework that identifies causal links between environmental stressors and polar bear responses. We provide guidance regarding steps necessary to refine the model, including adding inputs from other experts. The BN model projected extirpation of polar bears from the seasonal ice and polar basin divergent ecoregions, where ≈2/3 of the world's polar bears currently occur, by mid century. Projections were less dire in other ecoregions. Decline in ice habitat was the overriding factor driving the model outcomes. Although this is a first-generation model, the dependence of polar bears on sea ice is universally accepted, and the observed sea ice decline is faster than models suggest. Therefore, incorporating judgments of multiple experts in a final model is not expected to fundamentally alter the outlook for polar bears described here.
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Indigenous groups offer alternative knowledge and perspectives based on their own locally developed practices of resource use. We surveyed the international literature to focus on the role of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in monitoring, responding to, and managing ecosystem processes and functions, with special attention to ecological resilience. Case studies revealed that there exists a diversity of local or traditional practices for ecosystem management. These include multiple species management, resource rotation, succession management, landscape patchiness management, and other ways of responding to and managing pulses and ecological surprises. Social mechanisms behind these traditional practices include a number of adaptations for the generation, accumulation, and transmission of knowledge; the use of local institutions to provide leaders/stewards and rules for social regulation; mechanisms for cultural internalization of traditional practices; and the development of appropriate world views and cultural values. Some traditional knowledge and management systems were characterized by the use of local ecological knowledge to interpret and respond to feedbacks from the environment to guide the direction of resource management. These traditional systems had certain similarities to adaptive management with its emphasis on feedback learning, and its treatment of uncertainty and unpredictability intrinsic to all ecosystems.
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Indigenous groups offer alternative knowledge and perspectives based on their own locally developed practices of resource use. We surveyed the international lit- erature to focus on the role of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in monitoring, responding to, and managing ecosystem processes and functions, with special attention to ecological resilience. Case studies revealed that there exists a diversity of local or traditional practices for ecosystem management. These include multiple species management, resource rotation, succession management, landscape patchiness management, and other ways of responding to and managing pulses and ecological surprises. Social mechanisms behind these traditional practices include a number of adaptations for the generation, accumulation, and transmission of knowledge; the use of local institutions to provide leaders/stewards and rules for social regulation; mechanisms for cultural internalization of traditional practices; and the devel- opment of appropriate world views and cultural values. Some traditional knowledge and management systems were characterized by the use of local ecological knowledge to in- terpret and respond to feedbacks from the environment to guide the direction of resource management. These traditional systems had certain similarities to adaptive management with its emphasis on feedback learning, and its treatment of uncertainty and unpredictability intrinsic to all ecosystems.
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In 2010 a US proposal to uplist polar bears to Appendix I of CITES was rejected. Parsons and Cornick (2011, [1]) critiqued this decision and the IUCN/TRAFFIC analysis that supported it. Their critique overlooks several important dimensions of polar bear conservation. Foremost, they failed to explore what subsistence hunting actually means in this context. Paradoxically, prohibiting international trade through CITES might actually increase the number of bears killed by northern Aboriginal peoples. Second, they misread the scope of the IUCN/TRAFFIC recommendation. Third, uplisting polar bears under CITES would allow national governments to claim they are saving polar bears through a decision that only addresses peripheral threats and diverts attention from insufficient action to mitigate climate change: the factor that Parsons and Cornick rightly point out as the primary threat to polar bears.
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Beluga whale hunting is one of the most social subsistence hunting activities to take place in the Canadian Arctic. Through the harvest, distribution and consumption of beluga whales, Inuit identity and social relationships are affirmed. The whale-hunting complex is influenced by beliefs that beluga whales are sentient beings who inhabit a shared social space with humans. Yet, across the region beluga whales are perceived by wildlife managers as scarce resources and as such require protection through the imposition of management plans. There is currently no management of whales on the west coast of Hudson Bay, in Nunavut. In 2002, Inuit there were requested to sell part of their whale harvest to Inuit in Nunavik, northern Quebec, where hunting quotas exist. The outcome of this event was concern in Nunavut for the future of the whale hunt, and a deepening sense of powerlessness in Nunavik due to the management of the whale harvest.
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Arctic coastal communities in the Bering Strait region of Alaska (USA) and Chukotka (Russia) share a close relationship with their natural environments that can be characterized as a social–ecological system. This system is complex, featuring changing ecosystem conditions, multiple jurisdictions, migratory animal populations, and several cultures. We argue that linkages between communities in both countries enhance the effectiveness of transborder polar bear and walrus conservation. We find that locally embedded bilateral institutions can provide effective management venues that persist despite slow or lacking processes of international law because they provide a better fit between rules for managing and the true system state.
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Rapid ecological and social change in the Arctic challenge conventional methods of policy analyses and prescriptions. This is especially true for the conservation of ice-dependent species as climate warming has reduced sea ice cover. Polar bears are an interesting case to examine, as they are subject to a bundle of institutions, many of which cross scales and have in the past resulted in successful collective action. However, key policies such as the US Endangered Species Act, premised on mediating short-term disturbances, may not fit new problems that cross geographic and temporal scales and require the conservation of slow ecosystem processes such as oceanographic conditions or sea ice habitats. In this case, it is argued that the American polar bear regime as it has evolved no longer fits contemporary social–ecological dynamics. Through an analysis of the scale, efficacy and feasibility of individual policies making up the regime, the current bundle of policies are evaluated against a model of social–ecological system dynamics. The results indicate that the regime has increased its geographic scale to match population dynamics, but has focused on short-term disturbance over long-term resilience and is characterized by trade-offs between efficacy and feasibility. The equity of these trade-offs for indigenous communities that live with bears as part of a social–ecological system is highlighted. To address resilience and issues of equity, a systems approach to policy design and evaluation is recommended.
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The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a common pool resource that contributes to both the subsistence and monetary aspects of the Nunavut mixed economy through its use as food, the sale of hides in the fur trade, and sport hunt outfitting. Sport hunting is more financially profitable than subsistence hunting; however, the proportion of the polar bear quota devoted to the sport hunt has become relatively stable at approximately 20% across Nunavut. This ratio suggests local Inuit organizations are not using a neoclassical economic model based on profit maximization. This paper examines local-level hunting organizations and their institutions (as sets of rules) governing the sport and Inuit subsistence hunts from both formalist and substantivist economic perspectives. It concludes that profit maximization is used within the sport hunting sphere, which fits a neoclassical model of economic rationality. A second and parallel system, better viewed through the substantivist perspective, demonstrates that the communities focus on longer-term goals to maintain and reproduce the socio-economic system of the subsistence economy, which is predicated on maintaining social, human-environment, and human-polar bear relations.
Cash, commoditisation and changing foragers
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Polar bear trade ban 'too close to call
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Sometimes Hunting Can Seem Like Business: Polar Bear Sport Hunting in Nunavut
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Hunting for skin trade threatens already beleaguered polar bears
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Ursus maritimus Icon On Ice: International Trade and Management of Polar Bears. TRAFFIC North America and WWF-Canada
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Conservation and management of Canada's polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in a changing Arctic
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Icon On Ice: International Trade and Management of Polar Bears
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Shadbolt, T., York, G., Cooper, E.W.T., 2012. Icon On Ice: International Trade and Management of Polar Bears. TRAFFIC North America and WWF-Canada, Vancouver, BC.
Canada's unsustainable slaughter of polar bears
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Making a Living: Place, Food and Economy in an Inuit Community
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Inuit could lose right to sell parts of polar bears
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Humane Society International (UK) http://www.hsi.org/worldChris Packham
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Polar bears: politics trumps precaution every time
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Open letter to Environment Minister Richard Benyon
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Melting under pressure: the real scoop on climate warming and polar bears. The Wildlife Professional
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Stirling, I., Derocher, A., 2007. Melting under pressure: the real scoop on climate warming and polar bears. The Wildlife Professional 24-26 (Fall) 43.