Nunavut and Greenland start Kane Bay polar bear survey
“This collaborative effort that will help us better understand and sustainably manage this shared polar bear population”
A study of the Kane Basin polar bear sub-population kicked off April 23 in collaboration with the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, the Government of Nunavut said April 24.
The Kane Basin polar bear sub-population is a small population of polar bears that is managed jointly by Nunavut and Greenland.
A study conducted between 1993 and 1997 suggests the numbers of this population may be declining, but there is a need for more up to date information, the GN said.
“I am very pleased to announce this collaborative effort that will help us better understand and sustainably manage this shared polar bear population,” said the Honourable James Arreak, Nunavut’s minister of Environment.
Arreak and Greenland Minister Ane Hansen say they will keep Nunavummiut and Kalaallit in Greenland informed about the survey.
The planned three-year study is part of the management strategy set out by the Canada-Greenland Joint commission, set up with the Canada-Greenland Memorandum of Understanding in 2009.
The study will investigate the population size and status by means of a genetic mark-recapture method, which uses analyses of hair samples instead of repeated drugging, sampling and tagging.
The Kane Bay survey will coincide with another one scheduled for this fall in the neighboring Baffin Bay.
There, in addition to genetic mark-recapture work, researchers will use more traditional mark-recapture methods to collect data from “a small number” of collared and ear-tagged bears in Kane Basin to determine the geographic range of the subpopulation, the GN said.