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Repulse Bay man questions confiscation of polar bear defence kills

Residents of Repulse Bay are raising concerns about what happens to the meat and hide of polar bears taken through defence kills.

Dept. of Environment says meat and hide given to local hunters and trappers organization

Residents of Repulse Bay are raising concerns about what happens to the meat and hide of polar bears taken through defence kills.

This Halloween, while families were celebrating at the local community centre, a polar bear was roaming the community on the west coast of Hudson Bay.

John Ell Tinashlu says local elders advised him to harvest the bear, because it would keep coming back. He got his rifle, shot the bear and skinned it with many other residents watching.

That's when a wildlife officer showed up. The community was allowed 12 kills this year from the Foxe Basin polar bear population and had already reached its quota.

“He came and took everything,” Tinashlu said in Inuktitut.

“I felt he took part of my heart. Without asking, he just took it, but it also put strength in me to make changes on how someone could just come take what is ours.”

Now Tinashlu is trying to find out what will happen to the bear.

Jimmy Noble Jr., senior manager of operations with Nunavut's Department of Environment, says the government confiscates the polar bears while the investigation is going on. Once that’s done, he says the meat and hide will be given to the local hunters and trappers organization.

“In some cases, the HTOs draw names during Christmas and give the hide away,” he says.

In others, the HTOs give the hide away as a door prize during their annual general meeting.

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