In Canada, polar bears generally migrate north along the Hudson Bay coast from late summer to early November as the sea freezes. Due to climate change, they’ve had to wait until much later in the year. As less ice is forming, they have a harder time reaching their prime hunting spots. Famished, they make their way into Inuit settlements, scavenging through the trash, harassing sled dogs, and scaring residents.
Though polar bears are currently listed as a threatened species, the United States and many environmental groups believe they should be considered ‘endangered’ and are pushing for a global commercial ban. However, only Inuit are allowed to hunt these animals provided that they win one of the ten tags allotted each year. A single pelt can sell for over 10,000$. Here, traditional hunting practices clash with modern conservation science.
Ed Ou is a Canadian journalist who has been bouncing around the Middle East, the former Soviet Union, Africa, and the Americas. Now based in Istanbul, he started his career as a teenager, covering the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and the fall of the Islamic Courts in Mogadishu, Somalia. He worked for Reuters, the Associated Press, the New York Times and is now represented by Reportage by Getty Images.