YELLOWKNIFE, Northwest Territories, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Canada's Northwest Territories has quadrupled the price it pays hunters for pelts of near-endangered polar bears, the National Post reported Wednesday.
The territory runs the only authorized retail source for the pelts, Genuine Mackenzie Valley Furs, which previously paid $400 per bearskin.
That has been upped to $1,750, which University of Alberta biologist Andrew Derocher told the Post reflected growing global demand from burgeoning economies in Russia and China.
In April, a Canadian auction company sold a polar bear pelt for a record $11,000, the report said.
Various international animal and scientific groups have designated polar bears as a vulnerable species, one step short of being classed as endangered as their pack ice habitat is shrinking.
Only indigenous Inuit hunters are allowed to kill the bears, although various regional laws throughout Canada's north allow Inuits to "guide" visiting hunters.
The price increase came as debate has begun on making the polar bear Canada's national animal instead of the beaver.