News

Iqaluit’s caribou harvest for 2023-24 is closed, GN announces

A brief story noting that the community of Iqaluit (capital nad largest community in Nunavut) has reached its caribou hunting quota of 74 animals for the year, and no more caribou hunting will be permitted for the Baffin Island community. The last population estimate for the Baffin herd in 2014 put the number at 4,652. 
21 August 2023 | Nunatsiaq news

OPINION: Alaska’s game management goals for Mulchatna caribou are unrealistic

This is another perpsepctive on the decision by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to undertake large-scale predator control on the range of a migratory caibou herd. The department shot 94 brown bears, along with a few black bears and wolves this spring. While this is not a herd that ranges into Canada, it is an interesting discussion of various aspects of caribou management, including the efficacy of predator control, and the setting of appropriate targets for herd size. 
16 August 2023 | Anchorage Daily News

Herbivore Diversity Helps Maintain Arctic Tundra Diversity

A report on research in Greenland that shows grazing animals such as caribou are likely to contribute to less biodiversity loss in Arctic tundra as the region warms. The study leaders fenced off some area so they could be grazed by caribou, muskox, and Arctic hares and found, "Biodiversity declined more gradually in the grazed plots compared with the ungrazed plots."  
14 August 2023 | Eos

Federal judge upholds pause on pre-development oil work in Arctic refuge

A news story about a judge's order to halt oil and gas survey work in the Alaskan National Widlife Refuge. The refuge contains the calving area of th Porcupine caribou herd. The state of Alaska and some of its agencies have leases in the refuge that would have permitted the first stages of development. The ruling means those who wish to undertake the oil and gas development work must "...await the results of a new environmental assessment expected later this year." The story notes that,"The federal government is expected to deliver a revised environmental impact statement by the end of September, and that could lead to a decision that changes, confirms or voids the ANWR development program altogether."
11 August 2023 | Alaska Beacon

OPINION: Intensive management to help the Mulchatna caribou herd

The Alaskan Department of Fish and Game recently killed nearly 100 bears and several wolves this year in an attempt to revive a declining caribou herd. The Mulchatna herd has dropped from a recorded high of about 200,000 to about 12,000. The department was criticized for the large numbers of bears killed. This is its response.
30 June 2023 | Alaska Daily News

Nunavut Planning Commission submits territory-wide land use plan for approval

A plan to guide development and conservation in Nunavut has been publicly released. To be finalized, the plan must be approved by the governments of Canada and Nunavut, and by the Inuit organization that administers the Nunavut land Claim, Nunvut Tunggavik Incorporated. A spokesperson for conservation organization WWF says the plan's protections for caribou calving grouds are a sign of progress, but he's concerned that those protections could be over-ridden by other elements of the plan.  
23 June 2023 | CBC North

Feds say Agnico Eagle has failed to protect caribou at Nunavut gold mine as promised

The federal government says a company operating a gold mine near Baker Lake in Nunavut is failling to comply with promises to close roads when migrating caribou are close by. In an oficial document, a government representative has ordered the company to "...comply with its permits to operate or face potential penalties."
16 June 2023 | CBC north

State wildlife officials trying to revive Southwest Alaska caribou killed almost 100 brown bears in less than a month

A story about predator control in Alaska, where many bears were killed in an effort to aid the declining Mulchatna caribou herd. The top two causes for the decline are reported to be climate change and brucellosis, but state officials say that predator control is the only practical lever they have to try to revive the herd.
12 June 2023 | Anchorage Daily News

Braiding Indigenous rights and endangered species law

A story based on a Science magazine paper about how conservation targets need to take into account "...what communities need for health, food security, and cultural well-being." The story uses the recovery of mountain caribou in British Columbia as an example of how conservation targets need to shift to allow for meaningful Indigenous harvest. "The paper highlights the current caribou count would only provide about three animals, or one meal per person, per year for Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations. The culturally significant count would require a herd of over 3,000 animals, an abundance more reflective of the historic “sea of caribou” level."
23 May 2023 | University of British Columbia

Baffin caribou harvest now closed, says Environment Department

A brief story about the end of the caribou season on Baffin Island. The Nunavut territorial government set a quota of 350 animals per year on the island herd.
1 May 2023 | Nunatsiaq news