Most people don’t know it, but polar bears are officially classified as marine mammals, and as such are included under the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act. They are also listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, affording the iconic animals further protection against hunting, trapping and capturing.
But over the past few years, those laws did not stop a handful of wealthy individuals from flying up to Canada to bag a “trophy” polar bear for their collection back home, even though they were warned that U.S. law would prohibit the importation of skins, heads and other products from the bears they were hunting.
Those trophy hunters have in the past managed to secure an exemption from Congress, allowing some of the trophy bears to enter the United States.
Now the trophy hunters and their friends in D.C. are at it again. Last week, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) introduced a new bill in the house, “To amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to allow the importation of polar bear trophies taken in sport hunts in Canada.”
On the Senate side, Mike Crapo (R-ID) offered a similar though slightly more restrictive bill, the “Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act of 2013.”