Since May of 2008, 41 hunters have been keeping their polar bear kills in refrigerated storage, as they can no longer import them into the US.
Prior to May of 2008, American big game hunters could go to Canada, bag a polar bear, and have its body transported back to the US.
That stopped when the US classified the species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and barred the import of any part of the slain bears.
Ever since, 41 hunters who killed their bears before the ban, have been paying hundreds of dollars a year to keep their kills in refrigerated storage, in hopes that someday some sort of agreement could be reached and they could be reunited with them. (
That day may be coming soon.
In an effort led by Representative Don Young, who has successfully hunted one of the animals himself, legislation is pending that would allow the bears to be freed from limbo and sent to their owners.
It’s called the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2013 and is expected to be passed in the House of Representatives soon.
The Senate is not as keen on lifting the ban, even in this special circumstance, as there is a great deal of concern among conservationists and environmentalists about some of its provisions.