The polar bear is a beast that taps into our primitive fear of the ultimate predator

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The Independent Online

I struggle to get my head around the trophy-hunting of polar bears. When hunting is carried out by indiginous Inuit populations for sustenance, that is different. Inuit hunters use every part of the polar bear's body and demonstrate a profound knowledge and respect for the creature. I have yet to meet a trophy-hunter who has had any real respect for an animal.

When hunting was banned in Norway and Russia, polar bear populations there were under real pressure – since the bans, populations have recovered. Some leading experts say that hunting may currently be an even greater threat to the polar bear than climate change.

For organisations in Canada to sell a ticket to hunt polar bears to some Texan for thousands of dollars is just wrong. Trophy-hunting and the international trade in trophies come from a warped appreciation of an animal. To want to turn them into rugs is a pretty poor appreciation of what they are.

The polar bear is iconic because it taps into our primitive fears that there are bigger, stronger things out there than us. Polar bears also demonstrate how miraculous nature can be, in creating a creature so perfectly adapted to be the top predator in a wilderness where man just cannot cope.

Having spent a great deal of time in the wild seeing the problems polar bears face, it's clear to me that we should be doing everything, absolutely everything, to conserve them and make sure that they have a future – so I back a ban on the international trade in polar bear trophies.

Gordon Buchanan is a wildlife filmmaker. For his latest series "The Polar Bear Family and Me", he tracked and filmed wild polar bears in the Arctic over several months.