23 marzo 2009

Bag a polar bear for $35,000: the new threat to the species




The latest challenge for fans of extreme hunting is an expedition to the Arctic Circle. Jerome Taylor reports

Boyd Warner treasures the memory of killing his first polar bear. It was 2003. For days he had stalked his prey on the frozen wastelands north of Pond Inlet, one of Canada's most isolated Inuit communities deep inside the Arctic Circle. His dog team picked up the scent of an eight-foot adult male and they hurtled over the ice: the hunt was on.

"It was one of those beautiful Arctic days," recalled Mr Warner. "We'd had about 14 hours of sunlight and were completely surrounded by nature. The moment of death comes quickly for the bear. You might track one for days through the ice but a single shot to the heart kills it instantly."

For wealthy modern-day trophy hunters, bagging a polar bear is the ultimate kill. Fourteen days in harsh conditions, requiring dog-sleds, Inuit guides and a heated tent camp, does not come cheap: the minimum bill comes to $35,000 (£24,000).

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