With low demand and weak prices reducing sales of polar bear fur, the Government of Nunavut has arranged to have the balance of 300 unsold hides sent back to the territory.
Hides that harvesters don’t want back will be donated to non-profit organizations for projects or sold locally by the Department of Environment for use in clothing or other products, according to Environment Minister Joe Savikataaq, who made the statement in the legislative assembly on Monday.
The GN has been providing advance payments to harvesters for polar bear hides for decades. Those furs are sent to an auction house in North Bay. Harvesters later receive the balance of their payment depending on the sale price.
Hunters who want their polar bear hides returned must refund their advance to the GN.
“By reclaiming the backlog of hides from Fur Harvesters Auction, we ensure that Nunavut polar bear hides do not degrade in quality simply to sit in storage,” Savikataaq said. “Due to the low demand and low prices at auction, the Department of Environment encourages harvesters to sell their hides privately, or to keep them for traditional use. Let’s keep our traditions and culture sustainable, and use this global downturn to benefit our communities instead.”