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The March 21 Montreal Gazette (hereafter to be referred to as simply the Gazette, the way the New Yorker calls the New York Times the Times, as if New York City were the center of the universe, which it is, but there are many centers of the universe, in fact every point in time and space is the center of the universe, according to the physics of the Big Bang) reports that five Arctic states– Canada, Denmark (greenland), Norway, Russian, and the United States– have signed a pact baning the hunting of polar bears except “by local people using traditional methods in the excercise of their traditional rights.” This includes sport hunting by non-Arctic hunters guided by natives. A ten-day hunt can bring in $30,000 to a native community. But there are only 25,00 or so polar bears left. Most of the are in Canada. The Russian census, two thousand bears, may be way undercounted, and there may be another 25,000 in the Russian Arctic. Global warming is wreaking havoc with their way of life and seasonal movements. The ice pack is melting so far back from the shores that mothers with cubs can’t see it and can’t to swim it, and the icepack is where the seals are in the summer, so hungry bears are hanging around the native settlements and becoming a dangerous problem. It seems to me that if the embattled polar bear is to survive, the Arctic’s native people
are going to have to adapt. Polar meat meat is a small part of their diet. The bears are worth much more alive, as ecotouristic assets, just as a lion in the Rift Valley of Kenya is worth$25,000 in tourist dollars alive, while a poacher can only get $1000 for its skin. We all have to adapt now. Being frozen in no longer adaptive tradition is a formula for cultural extinction. Same with seal hunting in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
and whale hunting and cutting redwoods. These activities have to be dropped.

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