Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Around the Arctic November 11, 2011 - 7:01 am

Inuit need input into national polar bear management plan: ITK

"Inuit are a vital part of the success of this endeavour"


Canada’s move to list the polar bear as a species of special concern creates “special new responsibilities” for Ottawa, says Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

These include more Inuit involvement in developing a national management plan for polar bears, ITK said in a Nov. 10 statement.

The listing of polar bears as special concern under the Species of Risk Act,  which came into effect Nov. 9,  means a management plan must be prepared within three years to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.

“To ensure that Inuit rights and land claims obligations and processes will be adhered to and protected,” Environment Canada must involve Inuit from the four Inuit land claim regions in that plan’s development, ITK said.

“Key among Inuit expectations is the increased involvement and use of Inuit traditional knowledge in the polar bear research and management decision-making processes,” it said.

Challenges facing the development of a national management plan for polar bears include “properly” linking that plan to existing management regimes in the Inuit land claim regions and to the future circumpolar action plan recently agreed on in Iqaluit, ITK said.

“Inuit are a vital part of the success of this endeavour.”

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