NEWSWEEK ? Issue March 11th 2002
Think of Greenland, think of idyllic images from ?Nanook of the North.?
Now, think again. The hunting habits of Greenland?s Inuit will lead to
the imminent extinction of Arctic animals, argues Danish journalist
Kjeld Hansen in his new book, ?A Farewell to Greenland?s Wildlife,? a
synthesis of hundreds of international zoological studies. Greenland?s
environmental director, Hans Hoyer, agrees that the Arctic faces ?an
uphill struggle.? But he adds that not all Greenlanders?or Inuit?are to
blame. Newsweek's Charles Ferro hunted down Hansen for his opinions:
Is idyllic Greenland gone for good?
The postcard myth of the lonely hunter in his kayak is being blown to
pieces. People talk rubbish about the Greenland Inuit being born
environmentalists. It?s lying, denial and betrayal.
Why are they killing off wildlife?
Greenland is still hunting with rules from the good old days. The
outboard motor, automatic rifles, snowmobiles, GPS navigators and
satellite telephones allow huge kills, [but] many of the hunters will
still shoot at anything that moves?not just to gather food.
What about regulations?
Among Greenlanders there is a popular saying: ?Hunting rules only apply
within sight of a township.?
What?s likely to die off first?
Beluga whales will be gone within 20 years. The thick-billed murre
population has been cut in half, 16 of 40 colonies shot to oblivion,
mainly from illegal summer hunting. Common eider numbers are down by 80
percent, mainly from egg collecting and shooting females on nests.
Walrus have stopped visiting Greenland?s shores, except for two spots in
the north-eastern national park. Hunters in boats still travel out to
the drift ice and kill 300 [to] 600 walrus a year. Many behead them to
sell the tusks to tourists, and leave the skin and meat behind. If this
were the rhino in Africa, you?d have armed guards protecting the walrus.
Are Greenlanders aware of the situation?
Collective denial is a big part of the problem. Inuit people in
Greenland can do nothing wrong?that is still the credo.
Proact, campaigning for birds and their habitats .... your contribution
DOES make a difference
Discuss at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/proactteam/
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