The latest fad with the Chinese nouveau riche is exotic hunting trips to Canada, to kill and bring back home trophies of endangered polar bears. Such an expedition costs a small fortune but the takers are many, it has emerged.
The Daily Mail
reports that the price for a 10-day hunting trip, which includes a taxidermist whose sole responsibility is to help the hunter bring his trophy home, is of £50,000 ($78,635 / €59,848.5).
It's not exactly cheap but it's not too much either for those willing to spend even more for a one of a kind thrill – as well as for another story to brag about to friends.
The I Love Hunting club is based in Beijing, but was founded by a professional hunter from California, Scott Lupien.
Contacted by the Mail for comment on his controversial business, Lupien offers what he believes to be the ultimate argument: they're actually doing nature a favor by killing polar bears.
As he sees it, because the rookie hunters are only allowed to kill and take home one adult male, they're helping the species survive, because males are known to eat cubs.
Moreover, Lupien explains, if it's true that climate change is killing off the polar bears (which he most likely doubts), then they're dying either way, so they might as well hunt them and have some fun.
“Many Chinese buy expensive polar rugs smuggled into China. But these cost up to £40,000 ($62,908 / €47,878.8) each, so going to hunt for your own is attractive to my clients,” Lupien tells the Mail.
“I also teach the Chinese about conservation. That is an important part of the trip. Hunting by quota helps endangered species. If a male runs into a female with cubs, it attacks the cubs. Hunting males actually helps the young population survive,” he states.
“The animal rights guys know this but they don’t want to admit it. And if you believe the ice caps are melting as some claim, these bears are going to die anyway, so you may as well hunt them,” the club owner goes on to say.
For the kind of money he charges, Lupien promises his clients a trip like no other, which includes accommodation at luxury hotels, training, weapons and ammunition, the guarantee to take the kill home as a trophy (a rug), and a DVD of the entire expedition.
International animal rights groups are outraged that such a club is allowed to exist in the first place, but Canada's legislation permits non-native, international kills of the kind on its land.
About 500 polars bears are killed here every year, the Mail says.