Several U.S. zoos promote taking in orphaned polar bear cubs from Canada not just as a humanitarian act but as a way to save the species from an increasingly warming Arctic climate [“Captivity: A cold calculation to save polar bears,” front page, March 26].
While saving cubs makes sense, it’s unlikely to result in long-term conservation benefits for polar bears. In fact, it has the potential to undermine conservation, since the Marine Mammal Protection Act would have to be amended to allow their import. The trophy-hunting lobby is anxiously eyeing this opportunity, so that it can import more sport-hunted polar bear trophies. So the net effect of opening up the act to amendments might ultimately be the killing of more bears.