Nunavut will bring Baffin hunters together to talk about caribou
Gathering follows survey that found dramatic plunge in population
Representatives of hunter and trapper organizations from around the Baffin will gather in Iqaluit July 23 to July 25 to talk about the region’s plunging caribou population.
GN officials are not yet using terms like “quota” or “total allowable harvest.” But they do want to talk about conservation, management and “meaningful strategies.”
“Potential conservation options surrounding Baffin Island caribou will be sought in this critical workshop, and the possible need for short-term and long-term management actions will be discussed,” a GN news release said.
The results of a recent GN survey released this past May, done by airborne researchers and spotters from the communities, showed the caribou population on southern Baffin Island has declined by more than 95 per cent over the past 20 years.
That survey estimated that the entire south Baffin regional holds a population of only 1,065 to 2,067 caribou aged one year or older.
A different kind of survey, done in the late 1980s by biologist Mike Ferguson using Inuit traditional knowledge, found that south Baffin caribou numbers at that time stood somewhere between 60,000 and 180,000.
Survey numbers for North Baffin have not yet been released. But hunters around the island have noticed declining numbers for nearly a decade.
James Eetooloolook, a vice president at Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., said Inuit in the communities should contact their local HTOs to discuss the issue prior to the Iqaluit meeting.
Along with HTO representatives, people from NTI, the Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board, an Department of Environment elders advisory committee and other organizations are invited to the Iqaluit meeting also.
“The current caribou numbers across Baffin Island are reported to be low. Inuit understand that caribou populations naturally fluctuate, but it is critical that all co-management partners meet and discuss what sort of management measures should be put in place at this time,” Eetoolook said in a statement.