How Much is a Polar Bear Worth?
About $420,000, if you ask Canada. According to a report commissioned by the Canadian government, its citizens would be willing to pay $6.3 billion dollars per year to ensure that the white creatures continue to wander their vast arctic home. That’s about $500 per household, and with around 15,000 polar bears in Canada today, it equates to about $420,000 per bear. Look at the numbers a little closer, though, and you may notice that the direct benefits associated with the bears (mostly tourism and hunting) add up to a statistically insignificant $9 million per year, meaning that nearly all of the value of polar bears (at least to Canada) is qualitative, or something along the lines of “we just like them.” But why?