Nunavut government will go online to sell polar bear hides at cut rate to residents

Hides that couldn’t sell at auction because of low demand will go for $200 to $800

Polar bear hides will go for $200 to $800 on a new website being launched by the Government of Nunavut on Sept. 21. (File Photo)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Nunavummiut will be able to bid on polar bear hides online at discounted rates next week with the launch of a new website.

Joe Savikataaq, the minister of environment, confirmed in an interview that the website, nanuit.ca, will go live Sept. 21.

Going for $200 to $800 each, depending on quality, 155 fleshed and dried hides will be up for grabs, he said.

“Half the hides will be for beneficiaries only and all the hides are for Nunavummiut only,” Savikataaq said.

If there are more people interested in buying than there are hides available, he said there may be a lottery system.

The website won’t look like a typical online store with photos of each specific fur, he said, but Nunavummiut will be able to choose which price range and quality of hide they want to purchase.

“Some of the hides are good and some of them are poor,” he said. “There’s quite a variety of quality.”

The Department of Environment will cover shipping costs for the hides to be sent anywhere in the territory, Savikataaq confirmed.

In total, 235 polar bear hides were returned to Nunavut and are being stored in Iqaluit, Savikataaq said in the legislative assembly on Monday.

Some of the hides have been donated to community organizations, including schools and sewing groups. A total of 68 hides have been donated to 34 organizations, with each group receiving two hides, Savikataaq said.

The hides were returned to Nunavut from an auction house in North Bay, Ont., because of low demand and low sales prices.

Hides used to sell for about $3,000 each, Savikataaq said, but that’s no longer the case.

Hunters were paid $3,000 up front for their hides when they were hot sellers, and have since had the option to buy them back, but without inspecting them.

If they didn’t want them, they now belong to the department.

If a harvester has died since sending a hide to auction, it will be returned to their family, Savikataaq said.

Fox, wolf and wolverine pelts are still selling well at the auctions, he said.

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by It wasn’t demand it was quality. on

    The problem of demand only related to the quality of the furs. Nobody is going to pay $3000 minimum for a shoddy pelt. Too many bears were taken in the wrong season. And too many hunters think ANY polar bear is worth $15,000. Only the best of the best command top dollar.

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  2. Posted by Down to Earth Person on

    Please have the Inuit (Eskimos) first priority to bit….NOT second Citizens from Nunavut as whole…..because….the polar bears were killed by the Inuit (Eskimo) hunters….please note….”that I am NOT a racist” towards other inhabitants of Nunavut!……..but I want a fair share of this coming event that I was born in Nunavut….many many many years ago…..Another prob’lem…..never have that much money in my life….and I want to be part of the bidding gangs……if this too much of something….please administrator can delete it…..and thank you…….

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    • Posted by Qabluunaq on

      Please have qabluunaqs receive preferential treatment when it comes to healthcare and education as they are the majority of the ones serving their communities. See how that works? I’m not racist but…. Qabluunaqs should not be treated like second class citizens to communities they have contributed to and supported.

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  3. Posted by Is it a Bid or a Lottery on

    “Nunavummiut will be able to bid on polar bear hides online at discounted rates next week with the launch of a new website.”
    .
    “If there are more people interested in buying than there are hides available, he said there may be a lottery system.”
    .
    Again, a severe lack of details about how this is going to work. Is it an auction? Is it a sealed bid? Is it just a first-come first-served sale? Why does everything the GN does have to be so murky.

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