(CBC News, 11 April 2011) -- One of Canada's largest fur auction houses says it cannot meet the soaring demand for polar bear hides, provoking concerns about overhunting in southern Hudson Bay and other areas. Demand and prices for polar bear hides have been escalating over the past five seasons, says an official with Fur Harvesters Auction Inc. in North Bay, Ont. Russians are particularly interested in the hides, he said. "The supply does not even come close to meeting the demand," Mark Downey, the auction house's chief executive officer, told CBC News. At the company's most recent sale in January, polar bear hides sold for an average of $5,000, Downey said. One sold for a record high of $11,000. Each buyer at the sale wanted all 80 of the polar bear hides on offer but had to settle for two or three hides each, he said. "There's a lot of interest for really top-quality specimens, 10-footers-plus, well-handled bears for the Russian market," he said. "There's a lot of Russian businessmen or what have you that would like to have a polar bear rug."
Posted 11 April 2011; 5:27:44 PM. Permalink