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Narwhal Tusks For Sale

Welcome to

We offer narwhal tusks and narwhal skulls for sale, and provide a selection of information about the fascinating subject of narwhals.

Below is a slide show of a Artificial Life-Size Narwhal that we have for sale; interested parties can purchase the narwhal mount.

On our website, you can explore the history, biology and habitat of the narwhal, and also discover the rare phenomenon of double narwhal tusks. Narwhal tusks are prized, as harvested, for their natural beauty, but their ivory is also used in the creation of narwhal tusk ivory art.

We think you will agree that these mysterious whales are a unique and precious part of the diverse fauna of the Arctic seas.

If you have any questions about narwhal tusks or narwhal skulls, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Trapline Tales: Trail-Building in the High Country

by Calvin Kania, president and CEO, Fur Canada, May 17, 2018

Trapline Tales: Trail-Building in the High Country

As a teenager growing up in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, trapping with my father in the high country was exciting and fun. He taught me to respect the animals we trapped because they gave their lives for our livelihood. For him, it wasn't how many he caught, but how he caught them and in particular how humanely he could do so. He felt there had to be better methods of trapping and better tools than were on the market.

While Dad pursued his dream of making a better mouse trap, I was more inclined to pursue the next marten or muskrat. I loved marten-trapping because we did it in the high alpine country. It was always a struggle to get there in January, with the steep inclines of the logging roads and the fresh powder snow, but it was worth it – pristine country, brisk, fresh, pure white and untouched, under a clear blue sky. We would find a big ole spruce or hemlock tree with the boughs drooping down to create shelter from the five feet of snow that lay around, then under the tree we'd build a fire and make a pot of tea.

But make no mistake, trapping in the high country is anything but easy. As you will hear in the tale I'm about to tell, it requires perseverance and stubborness.

Summer hiking in the high country of the Selkirk Mountains in the mid-1970s. Dad takes the lead, while our friend and fellow trapper Vern Varney brings up the rear.

Summer hiking in the high country of the Selkirk Mountains in the mid-1970s.
Dad takes the lead, while our friend and fellow trapper Vern Varney brings up the rear.

One Sunday in the summer of 1974, when I was 15, my parents and I headed up Airy Creek, a pristine area we had not trapped for five years, for berry picking and a fish fry. Picking berries has always been one of Mum's favourite things, and along the way her eagle eyes were hard at work. "Stop the truck," she cried. "I see some huckleberries!"

Now a few years earlier, she'd wanted to pick wild strawberries and dragged me along to help because that's what kids were for in those days. Do you have any idea how small wild strawberries are? About the size of a small button on my golf shirt. So imagine how long it took to fill an ice cream pale. All day. So when Mum got excited about picking those huckleberries on her own, we stopped the truck right away. "Yep, no problem Mum! Way you go! See you later!"

Fish Fry

Dad and I then ventured on up the old logging road until we came to a spot where a bridge used to be. The timber company had not logged here since 1970, so they hadn't kept up with road and bridge maintenance. Most logging roads in British Columbia are "de-activated" if the logging company is not intending to log the area again for some time, and with the total loss of this bridge, you could definitely say it was de-activated. The creeks here are not that big to traverse, but big enough to keep our truck and snowmobiles out when there's no bridge. Anyway, Dad decided if we were going to trap into the head end of Airy Creek, we needed to find a way to cross it come winter time.

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Trapline Tales: Ski Doos and Marten Scent

by Calvin Kania, president and CEO, Fur Canada, January 26, 2018

Trapline Tales: Ski Doos and Marten Scent

Everyone in the fur trade has tales to tell, and I am honoured that Alan Herscovici – the creator of Truth About Fur – thinks mine are worthy of launching Trapline Tales. It's the least I can do. Alan has devoted his working life to the trade, sometimes at great personal cost, and has been a passionate spokesperson to the media on behalf of us all. We owe him a great debt of gratitude.

Today I run a company called Fur Canada, making a range of fur products, museum-quality taxidermy specimens, and traps, but my journey in the fur trade began long ago, in a place called the West Kootenay, in British Columbia. I grew up there in the 1960s and '70s, and it had to be the best childhood any kid could experience. With my parents and siblings, I learned the ways of living off the land. We grew every kind of vegetable, had milk cows, chickens, horses and beef cattle, and in winter I would assist my father on his fur trapline.

Calvin Kania - Moose Hunt

Snowmobiles – and a Missed Opportunity

Every weekend during winter was a new experience. My father's trapline was 100 kilometres long, and it took us five years just to rotate every corner of it. In 1963, we also acquired the area's first snowmobile.

One day my mother and I were shopping in Nelson when I spotted a parked truck with two big, yellow snow-plowing machines on a trailer. "What are they?" my mother inquired of the gentleman attending them, who happened to be a distributor. He graciously explained how they worked and their advantages over snowshoeing. He called them "snowmobiles", and they were made by a Quebec company called Bombardier. She said her husband was a trapper and might be interested in one, so he followed us home. My father quickly took a liking to these machines, and since it was late, invited the gentleman to stay the night.

Next morning, my older brothers and father road-tested the machines, and by lunchtime the deal was made. We were the proud owners of a brand new Bombardier snowmobile! I still have it to this day, and one day will restore it to its original state.

During that winter and the next, the gentleman made follow-up visits in case repairs were needed. He was very impressed with my father and his success with the machine, because within that first winter, he had contracts with the power company and timber company to check on their power lines and spar tree equipment that was inaccessible in the back country.

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Narwhals Use Their Tusks to Club and Stun Prey, Scientists Discover

Ivan Semeniuk - SCIENCE REPORTER, The Globe and Mail, Published Friday, May 12, 2017

On the video, it is easy to miss – a sideways motion of the head by a swimming narwhal as it chases down a school of fish. But with that split-second flick, and several more like it, scientists working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada have documented something entirely new to science.

Based on a frame-by-frame dissection of the video, it appears that narwhals are using their iconic tusks to club and stun fish, which they then consume. The surprising behaviour is part of a growing picture of the feeding patterns of one of the most enigmatic of all whale species that could help inform efforts to conserve its habitat in the high Arctic.

"It's fascinating … it really shows how agile they are with their tusks," said Marianne Marcoux, a senior scientist with DFO based in Winnipeg whose team gathered the video during a field expedition last August in Tremblay Sound, a narrow fjord on the north coast of Baffin Island.

Dr. Marcoux, a narwhal expert who was not on the expedition, but who has carefully studied the video, said the whales may be employing the tusk-clobbering method in different ways depending on the number and species of fish they are pursuing. A scientific paper describing the find is being prepared for publication.

A narwhal's tusk is actually a modified canine tooth that protrudes up to three metres from the left upper jaw and grows in a spiral pattern. Over the years, many theories have been proposed for why narwhals evolved such a distinct anatomical feature, including for digging on the sea floor or for combat with rivals.

Because it is typically only males of the species who sport the tusk, scientists have long regarded its primary purpose to be an advertisement to females, similar to a peacock's tail. A 2014 study demonstrated the tusk may also serve as a sensory organ because it is not sealed in enamel like most mammal teeth and has a nerve fibre running through it that could be sensitive to chemical stimuli in seawater.

The new find adds another dimension to the tusk – one that has not been recorded before because of the technical challenge of observing narwhals up close while they are going about their business in the ocean.

[ View the Video, and Read More ]

Ex-Mountie Who Smuggled Narwhal Tusks Extradited to U.S.

By Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon, CBC News | Posted: Mar 17, 2016

A retired RCMP officer, already convicted and sentenced in New Brunswick for smuggling narwhal tusks across the border, has been extradited to the United States to face related money-laundering charges in Maine.

Gregory Logan, 58, of Woodmans Point, N.B., was ordered Wednesday by a U.S. judge to be held in custody pending his trial, scheduled for May 3 in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

Prosecutors allege Logan smuggled at least 250 narwhal tusks worth more than $2 million US into the United States by hiding them in false compartments in his vehicle, starting in 2000, when he was still a Mountie.

They allege Logan sold the ivory tusks to collectors, then laundered the proceeds by having the money transferred out of the United States in order to further the smuggling conspiracy.

If convicted, Logan could face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000 US.

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Eating Seal Meat Is a Vital Part of Life in My Community

Written by Tanya Tagaq | Munchies – Food by VICE | October 21, 2014

I don't understand the logic of protesting the hunting of a relatively small number of animals that are completely sustainable. It doesn't make any sense to me why people don't get up from their computers and protest slaughterhouses, as opposed to stopping indigenous, poverty-ridden people from being able to reap their own natural resources. It just takes a couple of celebrities like Paul McCartney to come along and talk about how cute these seals are, and everyone loses their mind completely.

When you aren't from a city and you aren't born and raised around skyscrapers and only picking food up from the grocery store, you understand the process of a living thing becoming your food. But a lot of people who eat meat are disgusted at the thought of a dead animal—they don't want to touch it. That's why I posted the sealfie in the first place. I wanted to have my baby there to demonstrate that this isn't gross; we're all flesh and we should respect the being that gave its life for us to eat. I definitely know that when you're buying chicken breast at the store, you're not like, Thank you, chicken, for dying.

Anyone who tries to vilify me and my position on seals is not sitting there in the spring in Nunavut when there are so many seals that it's like someone took a pepper shaker and sprinkled it on the ice. It's ridiculous that other cultures are welcome to survive off our natural resources, but we're not. A lot of people support what I'm saying because it's logical. And you know what's illogical? Thousands of people who have never seen a seal, who are sitting behind a computer and getting out their personal angst by trolling.

Seals make these animal rights groups lots of money, because a rich woman in Brooklyn isn't going to send you a $500 donation if you send her a postcard with a chicken on it. You need the cute seal's face so that it generates empathy. It's only a couple groups of people making money off of seals, and it's not the people who live with them.

When I said "fuck PETA" at the Polaris Prize awards, I had a two-minute acceptance speech to get across everything I wanted to say. But PETA had hours and hours to come up with a statement, and all they say was for me to "read more"! There's no logic in there; there's no respect. They vilified Inuit people for generations, and finally one of them very publicly stands up to them, and that showed their racism. Admittedly, what I said wasn't the most mature thing. But if you got to know me, you'd see that I curse a lot, but I've got a warm heart.

Trying to talk to people who are completely fanatical about a situation is really difficult. I'm not going to get in a conversation with anybody who can't have an actual conversation. When I post something online about feminism or indigenous rights, there's always that person that's like, Oh, you're whining, get over it. I try to see as many sides of a topic as I can, and I'm open to changing my mind as long as you can provide me with adequate information that'll allow my opinion to be swayed. But if anyone's stupid enough to argue against basic human rights, I don't want to talk to them.

What a lot of people don't understand is that kids in indigenous communities are hungry, and it's painful to see that. Knowing that, how do you empower people? In the 1970s, when Greenpeace started protesting the seal hunt, suicide rates jumped in Nunavut. To empower people, they have to feel good about themselves and be able to provide for their own families. If you're making money by doing something you love and always did and are very good at, and are simultaneously feeding your children, that will help alleviate some of the socioeconomic problems, which will dovetail into having a higher quality of life, and then decrease the number of missing and murdered indigenous women in our community. It's all connected.

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Narwhal Tagging 2014: Polar Bear Watch

By Clint Wright | VANCOUVER SUN | August 22, 2014 • Section: Arctic Connection, COMMUNITY

People who travel in the Arctic very quickly get used to the idea of getting stuck in small towns. It happened to me last year and this year is no different.

We started our journey north to satellite tag and collect samples from narwhals by taking a flight from Ottawa to Iqaluit. Then it was on to Arctic Bay, Resolute and finally Grise Fiord. Our schedule, though, was weather dependent, and we arrived later than anticipated.

Six small aluminum boats were waiting at Grise Fiord for our team of scientists, animal care specialists and others with related expertise. They took our team 30 kilometres to a camp in a fjord adjacent the town. We haven't seen any narwhals yet, though I don't expect it to be like it was in Tremblay Sound in 2012 with narwhals in the hundreds swimming up the channel. I think that today's storm might move the narwhals into the fjord for shelter, but a cruise ship, which we saw at the mouth of the fjord, may actually divert the whales.

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Narwhal Tagging 2014: Elusive Whales

By Clint Wright | VANCOUVER SUN | August 27, 2014 • Section: Arctic Connection, COMMUNITY

We are well into our narwhal research trip and… no sight of narwhals. Should they have ventured by our camp outside of Grise Fiord, Nunavut I would have seen them early this morning because there was no wind and the water was like glass. Alas, there weren't any narwhals, but I did see jellies rippling in the water during my 3 am polar bear shift (didn't see any polar bears either).

We (our team of scientists, animal husbandry experts and Fisheries and Oceans Canada staff) just need to be patient. We didn't see them until well into our trip last year, and this year may very well be the same. There's already talk about doing things a little differently in 2015 and perhaps venturing further north where more narwhals have been sighted.

In the absence of narwhals, I've enjoyed seeing other Arctic animals, like seabirds, ringed seals and even a muskox. I watched a ringed seal investigate the floats attached to the tops of our nets, and I had a good chance to see a lone female muskox as she made her way through our camp. Trying to fix the broken furnace in the communal tent has been keeping us busy too.

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Narwhal Tagging 2014: Where Have They Gone?

By Clint Wright | VANCOUVER SUN | September 4, 2014 • Section: Arctic Connection, COMMUNITY

We've seen a lot of muskox near our camp outside of Grise Fiord, Nunavut but zero narwhals. While it's easy to feel disappointed, I'm satisfied that we had a safe research trip. I, along with a team of scientists, animal husbandry experts and Fisheries and Oceans Canada staff, came to satellite-tag and collect samples from narwhals with the hope of learning where they travel during different times of the year.

As mentioned in my last blog post, we saw our first muskox when it made its way through our camp. It was alone, which is quite unusual because muskox generally gather in groups of five or more. Since then, there have been 14 more sightings of these formidable animals on the shore opposite our camp. They can be quite aggressive so the locals were concerned for us, but we always kept at a safe distance.

At the same time of trying to satellite-tag narwhals, Nigel Hussey of the University of Windsor has been tagging Greenland sharks and looking into whether these sharks inhabit the same waters as narwhals. In theory, Greenland sharks follow narwhals to feed on the afterbirth and dead calves, so the fact that we've only caught three Greenland sharks may be significant – it may be a sign that narwhals are not around either.

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Narwhal's Trademark Tusk Acts Like a Sensor, Scientist Says

The Arctic whale's tusk is actually a tooth that can grow more than nine feet long; it has baffled people for centuries.

By Jane J. Lee | National Geographic | Published March 18, 2014

The arctic whale known as the narwhal is famous for the spiral tusk protruding from its head, but scientists have long battled over the horn's purpose.

On Tuesday, scientists published a study that advances a bold theory about how the whale uses its tusk. They say the horn, which is actually a tooth, is a sensory organ.

The scientists speculate that the tusk, usually found only the males, can pick up differences in the whale's environment, like the salt content of seawater, helping the marine mammals to navigate their frigid homes or perhaps find food.

But the theory is highly controversial; many marine mammal experts reject the idea that the tusk plays a central role in a narwal's ability to sense its environment, insisting that the tooth is most likely a lure to attract mates. (Related: The Mystery of the Sea Unicorn)

"There's just zero evidence" for the possibility that a male narwhal's tusk plays a large role in whether the animal can sense things like changes in salinity or where to find food, says Kristin Laidre, a marine mammal biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Martin Nweeia of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, lead author of the new study published in The Anatomical Record, agrees that the tusk is like the brilliant feathers of a peacock—used to attract females in the mood to mate. But he says that doesn't necessarily preclude other uses.

"It's very typical for a sensory organ to have multiple functions," he says.

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Alaska Narwhal Tusk Bust Leads to International Smuggling Ring by CASEY GROVE January 9, 2014

Federal authorities have unveiled their investigation of an international smuggling ring that trafficked at least $1.5 million worth of narwhal tusks, including 19 shipped to Alaska, where the investigation started.

Two Tennessee men, Jay Conrad and Eddie Dunn, have pleaded guilty to trading in illegal animal parts in a conspiracy that stretched across several states and two countries, federal prosecutors revealed this week. Conrad and Dunn admitted to buying narwhal tusks from two Canadians who sneaked the tusks into the United States. Then Conrad and Dunn sold the tusks to various buyers, including, in Dunn's case, people in Alaska, according to court documents.

Federal agents in Alaska were the first to catch on to the scheme, a prosecutor said.

The narwhal is a protected species of whale, characterized by a long tusk protruding from its jaw, that lives in the Arctic waters of Canada and Greenland. Only Natives are allowed to harvest narwhals, and Canadians can only sell the tusks to other Canadians with a special permit. Selling the tusks to Americans has been prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act since 1972.

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How an Ex-Mountie’s 10-year Narwhal-Tusk Smuggling Scheme Came Crashing Down

Little is known of Gregory Logan from court documents. He is a former Mountie, he is in his late 50s, he hails from Grand Prairie, Alta., and, from a summer home in Maine, he orchestrated what may well be the largest narwhal smuggling ring of modern times.

Logan smuggled as many as 250 narwhal tusks past a sleepy border station in northern Maine. Then, from a FedEx station in Bangor, Me., he would package up the conspicuous, spiraled tusks and send them to a network of recipients throughout the United States. Reportedly, it was a scam he kept up for more than 10 years.

This week, a New Brunswick court responded by slapping Logan with what Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq told Nunavut media was “the largest penalty ever handed down in Canada” for a wildlife offence of its kind.

The tusks are one of the most coveted objects from the natural world, adorning scepters and thrones throughout Europe, and reportedly originating the myth of the unicorn. They are really elongated, spiraled teeth that begin to pierce their way through the whale’s face at adolescence, although they are not known to have any use for the narwhals.

While any Canadian with a few thousand dollars can buy the closely regulated tusks from third-party dealers or even small network of Inuit hunters selling the specimens online, the tusks have been illegal to import into the United States since the 1972 passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Naturally, whatever Canadian tusks do slip through into the U.S., can fetch a steep premium from collectors.

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Narwhal 2013: Stranded in a Small Arctic Town

August 19, 2013. 12:27 pm • Section: Arctic Connection, COMMUNITY

Well, we’re still stuck in Pond Inlet.

We haven’t been able to get out into the field, and we’ve pretty much been on standby every day for the last week. The problem is that the flights are originating out of Resolute – and we need to get to Grise Fiord. Between Resolute, Pond Inlet and Grise there have been weather warnings every day – mostly wind.

Grise, as we are finding out, is also a very difficult runway to get onto as it parallels the mountain range that sits right behind the town. In addition, the runway is very short, so only small planes can get in.

There are nine of us here, and so far, everyone seems to be keeping in great spirits. Fortunately, everyone has been North before, so we are all used to the delays (although this one has been overly long).

This morning, the forecasts were much better, and the heavy snowfall predicted for Grise appears to have been pushed off to tomorrow night. As a result, we got the call this morning that the move from Resolute was on and that we could expect to get two or three loads into Grise before the duty day ends for the pilots.

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Narwhal 2013: Finally at Base Camp

August 26, 2013. 3:44 pm • Section: Arctic Connection, COMMUNITY

After a week of waiting, we’ve finally made it to our field camp in Grise Fiord. It’s here that we’ll be conducting research on narwhals: where do they come from? How long do they stay here? Where do they go next?

If there’s anything I’ve learned about doing research in the Arctic, it’s that you’re at the mercy of the weather and you can expect long waits. I write this as part of our team is still stuck in Pond Inlet, their airplane grounded due to the fog.

I, however, managed to get out of Pond Inlet with the others on the research team, flying across northern Baffin Island. A break in the clouds allowed us to peek at the rugged, mountainous terrain down below. We eventually made our way toward Ellesmere Island – Grise Fiord is on the south coast of the island.

Once we arrived in the tiny hamlet of Grise Fiord (where there was snow on the ground, unusual for this time of year), we were on to our next challenge: schlepping our gear to the rocky shore and hauling it on to the boat with only part of our team to do the heavy lifting.

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Narwhal 2013: First Sighting of Narwhals for Research

August 28, 2013. 5:07 pm • Section: Arctic Connection, COMMUNITY

After a long journey here, I’ve finally spotted the animals I have come to help research: narwhals. We saw them coming down the channel, a few on each side. They eventually met in the middle of the channel before disappearing. The Inuit on our team could tell by this behaviour that they weren’t local narwhals. The local ones tend to hug the shoreline, while those new to the area are more wary and stay closer to the middle.

Another time, we saw around a hundred narwhals pass by us. By this point, we had had our zodiacs in the water to set up a net for tagging, but they all passed without even touching it.

Although we haven’t been too lucky on the narwhal front yet, I am encouraged by the improvement in weather. It’s cold – just above zero degrees during the day and just below zero at night – but we’re not dealing with the type of wind that descended on our camp just days before. We had to move quickly to make sure everything was tied down, so that it wouldn’t all blow away.

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Narwhal 2013: One Final Research Push

September 6, 2013. 4:21 pm • Section: Arctic Connection, COMMUNITY

Our time conducting narwhal research outside Grise Fiord, Nunavut has come to an end.

With a research site picked out for next year, it was time to pack up our current site. While we broke camp, we left the net in the water, hoping that we’d have the chance to tag and measure at least one narwhal this summer.

Even though we were unsuccessful in our attempts to tag and measure any narwhals, I don’t believe that it was a total loss regarding our research efforts. In past years, we conducted our research in Tremblay Sound – this was our first year at a new location farther north. It was a learning experience that produced new partnerships between people from different fields: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, scientists, veterinarians, volunteers, and local organizations and people based in Grise Fiord.

This year’s research was made especially challenging because of the weather – it has been very unusual this year, according to local standards. I’ve been told by the locals that this type of weather (blizzards) is not usually seen until October. Not only do the wind and snow make it hard to do narwhal research; it also makes it harder to keep a watch out for polar bears too.

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Hunters Fined $80K for Hunting Without Export Permits

CBC News - Posted: Apr 8, 2013

Mexican hunters had polar bear pelts, narwhal tusks from hunt in Nunavut

Some big-game hunters from Mexico were fined after a polar bear hunting trip in Nunavut.

The four men from Monterey, Mexico, were caught trying to leave Canada a week ago with three polar bear hides. They hunted the bears legally, but they did not have export permits.

The men also had three narwhal tusks they had apparently bought, also without permits.

Hector Martinez Jr. is a wealthy property developer in Monterey. He was travelling with his two adult sons and his godson.

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Russians Say Canadian Documents Help Polar Bear Poachers

Bob Weber, Canadian Press | 13/04/14

Russian officials are becoming increasingly concerned about polar bear poachers in their country using Canadian documents to disguise illegally hunted pelts.

“I think it is a real problem,” said Nikita Ovsyanikov, one of Russia’s top polar bear scientists and a member of the polar bear specialist group, the leading international research consortium on the mighty and controversial predators.

Ovsyanikov claims that Canadian documents required to bring hides into the country are being separated from the shipments they originally accompanied and sold separately. The certificates are then applied to skins from Russian polar bears to make them appear as if they have been legally hunted and imported.

Canada is the only country in the world that allows sport hunting of polar bears, which makes it the only country to issue certificates under the Convention on Trade In Endangered Species that allow polar bear products to cross borders.

“I’m aware of two cases where not pelts, but certificates were offered for sale on the Internet,” Ovsyanikov in an interview with The Canadian Press from Moscow. “The price was $1,000 so it was quite a profitable business.”

Groups such as the International Fund for Animal Welfare have raised similar concerns.

They have released an Internet screen grab from last October showing what appears to be a Canadian CITES certificate along with a polar bear rug. The price is 30,000 rubles — about $1,000.

“It was marked ‘Sold,’” translated Maria Vorontsova, a member of the Fund’s Moscow branch. “It was referring to the certificate, not the hide.:

Ovsyanikov said polar bear hides sell in Russia for up to $50,000.

Such pelts are increasingly popular among Russia’s elite. Canadian auction houses have said they can’t meet demand for the hides, most of which go to Russia.

Russian officials, supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, used concerns over the Canadian documents aiding poachers to argue that all trade in polar bear parts should be banned at the recent CITES meeting in Bangkok.

However, Canadian scientists aren’t sure there’s a problem.

Geoff York of the World Wildlife Fund said his group looked into the accusations about a year ago and failed to find much evidence.

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Polar Bear Hunt Ends in Fines

Winnipeg Free Press - Aldo Santin - Posted: 04/6/2013

Big-game hunters from Mexico legally shot and killed three polar bears this week in Canada's North but were stopped in their tracks when they tried to take the hides out of the country without the proper permits.

A Winnipeg judge blasted them with $80,000 in fines Friday, days after the hunting trip to Nunavut.

Acting on a tip, Environment Canada wildlife officers and Canada Border Services agents searched the men's private jet last Sunday as it refuelled in Winnipeg and found three polar bear hides and narwhal tusks.

The men did not have the proper export permits.

The four men pleaded guilty in provincial court Friday and paid their fines in cash.

Defence lawyer Evan Roitenberg, who represented three of the men -- a 67-year-old man and his two adult sons -- described his clients as "gentlemen of means" who simply made a mistake by trusting an outfitter who promised to provide all necessary permits.

The four men travelled to Canada on March 15 from Monterrey, Mexico, aboard a private jet, after paying $35,000 each to participate in an Arctic big-game hunt.

Polar bears are protected under Canadian law and international treaty, so polar bears can only be harvested by Inuit hunters for sustenance, or by sport hunters guided by Inuit.

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Mexicans Fined for Trying to Export Polar Bears


WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg judge handed out $80,000 in fines Friday to a group of high-flying Mexican trophy hunters snared at the airport without the permits required to export several polar bears they bagged on a hunting trip in Canada's north.

Hector Armando Martinez, 67, Alejandro Martinez, 35, and Gerardo Rodriguez, 41, faced infractions under federal environmental protection and international trade laws after the private jet belonging to Hector Armando Martinez was searched at the Winnipeg airport March 31.

A fourth man, Hector Martinez Martinez, 38, was charged under the Fisheries Act in connection to two narwhal tusks which were seized.

The men paid $35,000 each for a legal hunting trip to far-flung parts of Nunavut which began in mid-March, court heard. However, wildlife officials were tipped off they might be trying to return to Mexico without required export permits for game they killed.

A search of the hunters' plane by Canada Border Services Agency officials found this was the case, Judge Kelly Moar was told.

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Mexican Polar Bear Hunters Fined $80K

A Winnipeg judge handed out $80,000 in fines Friday to a group of high-flying Mexican trophy hunters snared at the airport without the permits required to export several polar bears they bagged on a hunting trip in Canada’s north. Hector Armando Martinez Martinez, 67, Alejandro Martinez, 35, and Gerardo Rodriguez, 41, faced infractions under federal environmental protection and international trade laws after the private jet belonging to Hector Armando Martinez was searched at the Winnipeg airport March 31

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Illegal Trophy Export Attempt of Arctic Trophies Costs Mexican Hunters $80,000

NEWS: Around the Arctic April 08, 2013

Nabbed in Winnipeg, hunters head home empty-handed


Four Mexican hunters returning from Nunavut paid $80,000 in fines April 5 before they made a hasty retreat from Winnipeg back to Mexico — heading home without their polar bear and narwhal trophies.

The men paid individual fines ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 to the federal government for offenses under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act and the Fisheries Act.

They were fined after Environment Canada wildlife officers received a tip last week that hunters were planning to take three polar bear hides and three narwhal tusks back to Mexico in a private jet, but without having first obtained the necessary export permits.

Hector Martinez, a property developer in the northern Mexican hub of Monterey, his two sons, Hector Armando Martinez and Alejandro Martinez, who work for their father, and Martinez’s godson, Gerardo Jimeno Rodriguez, a businessman, had arrived March 15 in Canada with a group of other Mexican hunters.

The group then split up, with some heading for Resolute Bay and the others to Cambridge Bay.

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News: Officials Crack Canadian-U.S. Narwhal Smuggling Ring

A smuggling ring brought narwhal tusks from the Canadian Arctic into Maine in a trailer with a secret compartment and then illegally sold them to American buyers, officials said.

Andrew Zarauskas, of Union, N.J., and Jay Conrad, of Lakeland, Tenn., will be arraigned in Bangor, Maine, next week on 29 federal smuggling and money laundering charges each.

For nearly a decade, two Canadians smuggled the whale tusks into Maine and shipped them via FedEx to Mr. Zarauskas, Mr. Conrad and other unnamed American buyers, according to an indictment.

Narwhals are known as the unicorns of the sea for their spiral, ivory tusks that can grow longer than 8 feet. The tusks can sell for thousands of dollars each, but it’s illegal to import them into the U.S.

The court document doesn’t specify how much money was involved, but it says the Canadian sellers received at least 150 payments from tusk buyers.

“The conspiracy we’ve alleged was over a period of 10 years, so there appears to have been enough of a market to support that length of conduct,” said Todd Mikolop, who is prosecuting the case for the environmental crimes section of the Department of Justice.

Narwhals live in Arctic waters and are harvested by Inuit hunters for their meat, skin and tusks, said Calvin Kania, president of Furcanada in British Columbia, which sells tusks to buyers who want them for display purposes or to turn into jewelry.

The tusks range from 3 feet to more than 8 feet, and typically sell for $1,000 to $7,000 each, Mr. Kania said. He ships tusks worldwide, but not to countries that prohibit imports, including the U.S., the United Kingdom and Australia.

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News: Alleged Narwhal-Tusk Smuggling Operation Smashed in Joint Canada-U.S. Effort

Federal environment officials in Canada and the United States have cracked an alleged smuggling operation that saw scores of narwhal tusks from the Canadian Arctic illegally shipped across the New Brunswick-Maine border in the secret compartment of a trailer.

Gregory and Nina Logan of Grande Prairie, Alta., are facing 28 charges in New Brunswick in connection with the alleged export of the tusks of the narwhal, a threatened Arctic whale, to customers in the U.S. — a violation of Canadian and American laws shaped by CITES, an international treaty that regulates the commercial trade in animal parts of vulnerable species.

And in December, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed an indictment alleging that two unnamed Canadians and two U.S. citizens — Andrew Zarauskas of Union, N.J., and Jay Conrad of Lakeland, Tenn. — conspired for close to a decade to transport the valuable whale tusks to U.S. buyers via the Milltown border crossing between St. Stephen, N.B., and Calais, Maine.

While the prosecutions in Canada and the U.S. are unfolding separately, the dozens of charges laid in the two cases appear to stem from the same alleged, cross-border tusk-smuggling ring.

The tusks — which routinely fetch prices of thousands of dollars each, and even $10,000 or more for superb specimens — can be sold within Canada or to select international markets, but not to the U.S. or other countries that have laws forbidding imports of certain animal parts.

Sometimes reaching three metres in length, the spiraled, spear-like narwhal tusk is coveted by collectors as one of the most exquisite creations of nature. The tusk — which is actually a kind of super-sensitive tooth that grows from the upper jaw of most male narwhals and may play a role in mate selection — is also believed to have inspired the ancient myth about magical horses with a long, perfect horn projecting from their heads: the unicorn.

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News: Narwhal Tusk Ban Partially Lifted

NTI applauds the decision which it says is based on new aerial surveys

CBC News | Posted: Dec 19, 2011 4:31 PM CST

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has partially lifted its international trade restrictions on narwhal tusks.

The department imposed the restriction on 17 communities in Nunavut one year ago. For months now, the federal government and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, an Inuit land claim organization, have been working on a plan to help settle the dispute.

The decision is based on some new information about narwhal populations, which was gathered over the past year.

Nunavut Tunngavik officials are applauding the move.

"We're hopeful, that you know, they'll do whatever they need to do and analyze it and come up with an answer, a positive answer, and then consult with the communities,” said Gabriel Nirlungayik, the wildlife director for the organization.

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