This article is over 5 years old and may contain outdated information.


Microchipped polar bear hides used to combat wildlife trafficking

Technology also will assist with management practices
  • Nov 09, 2016
  • 252 words
  • 2 minutes
polar bear trafficking Expand Image

The practice of checking the provenance of something before you buy it can apply to almost anything these days, be it wine, meat, coffee or clothes. The latest item on that list? Canadian polar bear hides.

Discovering where a hide of the Arctic’s apex predator came from, however, has less to do with quality and more to do with combating wildlife trafficking. That’s why, as part of a pilot project operated by the federal ministry of environment and climate change, conservation officers in Nunavut and Labrador began inserting microchips into hides earlier this year. The chips allow both wildlife enforcement officers and buyers of polar bear hides to discover where the bear was hunted. A CBC report said that when combined with back-up DNA samples, the microchips will make it possible for people to see if the bear is from a population that is allowed to be exported, at any point in the supply chain. The information will also help with management practices.

“This is something that we’re really excited about,” Sheldon Jordan, the director general of the wildlife enforcement division of Environment and Climate Change Canada told the CBC. “We’ve tried it in a number of communities across Northern Canada and it seems to be working quite well.”

Jordan told the CBC the project had been such as success so far that there were plans to expand it into communities in the Yukon and Northwest Territories this fall.


Are you passionate about Canadian geography?

You can support Canadian Geographic in 3 ways:

Related Content

People & Culture

The truth about polar bears

Depending on whom you ask, the North’s sentinel species is either on the edge of extinction or an environmental success story. An in-depth look at the complicated, contradictory and controversial science behind the sound bites

  • 4600 words
  • 19 minutes


Think like a bear: learning to coexist

Human and bears sharing more landscapes now than ever before. As we continue to invade their world, will we be able to coexist?

  • 4432 words
  • 18 minutes


Celebrating Polar Bear Week with a collection of our favourite bear-themed stories

Honouring one of Canada’s most beloved bears with stories about how polar bears hunt, how they are adapting to life on land, how they may have evolved and more!

  • 1604 words
  • 7 minutes
Image of a polar bear, and the cover of


Walking away from the wild side

In a new book, Max Foran denounces Canada's failures in protecting its wildlife from human exploitation

  • 1968 words
  • 8 minutes