09 Jun '18, 7am

Alaska Whale Hunt Keeps Polar Bears Alive.

Polar bears in far northern Alaska are increasingly beleaguered by a decline in the sea ice on which they depend. But they are finding sustenance during the Arctic spring and summer months from an unlikely source: the discards from an Inupiat village’s legal subsistence hunting of bowhead whales. An estimated 260 residents live in the town of Kaktovik, on an isolated four-mile stretch of Barter Island on the northern edge of the 20-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, bordering the Beaufort Sea. Kaktovik hosts the United States’ largest population of endangered polar bears, which are drawn to it to feast on the carcasses of 60-foot, 80-ton bowhead whales. What might at first seem to be a dangerous problem has actually become a successful experiment in peaceful coexistence. Traditional subsistence hunting by Inupiat people and other Native Alaskans dates back thous...

Full article: https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/alaska-whale-hunt-keeps...

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