Animal rights groups bent the facts about polar bear hunt: Study

A polar bear sow and two cubs are seen in this undated handout file image on the Beaufort Sea coast...

A polar bear sow and two cubs are seen in this undated handout file image on the Beaufort Sea coast within the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. REUTERS/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Handout

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:45 AM ET

Animal rights groups misled the public and bent the facts when they blamed Inuit hunters for the dwindling polar bear population, scientists say.

A study published in Global Environmental Change examined the media bliz leading up to the March 2013 campaign to ban trade in polar bears.

Animal welfare groups unfairly blamed Inuit hunters for something largely caused by climate change, the researchers said.

"The data were manipulated to grossly conflate the international trade in bears," said Doug Clark, an expert on polar bear-human interaction from the University of Saskatchewan. "They also presented a well-managed Inuit subsistence hunt as a for-profit enterprise."

Delegates voted against the U.S.-Russia backed proposal, but the researchers expect the issue will surface again.


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