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Nunavut OKs cull of 105 polar bears

  |   Nov. 6, 2008 at 10:27 AM
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IQALUIT, Nunavut, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The northeastern Canadian territory of Nunavut has ignored conservationists' pleas and will permit a cull of 105 polar bears, officials said.

The Globe and Mail quoted territorial Ministry of Environment officials in Iqaluit as saying the quota first set in 2004 would be unchanged.

Earlier this year, the United States declared polar bears a threatened species and banned the import of the animal's body parts by big-game hunters, a move the WWF-Canada conservation group applauded.

However, Peter Ewins, the group's director of species conservation said he can't understand the decision to allow more hunting by indigenous Inuit people and recreational hunters.

"You can't pretend to be looking after polar bears by carrying on with the same level of harvest. It is just totally unacceptable," Ewins said. "They've made a huge mistake that caused a 30 percent population decline."

Various estimates show the number of polar bears has dropped from an estimated 2,100 in 1997 to about 1,500 now, the newspaper said.

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