Nunavut expands wolf sample collection program

“Effectively managing our responsibility to the land, animals and the environment is essential. This program and research will help us to do that.”

The first year of the wolf sampling collection program in the Kitikmeot region has been a success, prompting the expansion of the program across the territory. (File photo)

By Dustin Patar

The Government of Nunavut plans to expand its wolf sample collection program to the Kivalliq and Qikiqtaaluk regions, Environment Minister Joe Savikataaq, who is also the territory’s premier, announced on Oct. 24.

The announcement comes after an inaugural pilot season in the Kitikmeot region. “This program has been a success,” said Savikataaq.

The program offers $300 per wolf to hunters who supply kill information and samples from their harvest to wildlife offices.

In the 2018-19 season, 52 hunters harvested 146 wolves, he said. Of those, 101 were harvested by hunters in Kugluktuk, with another 45 coming from other communities.

Hunters from Kugluktuk proposed the wolf sampling program as a way of helping to “minimize the impact of predators” on the Dolphin and Union caribou herd, according to the minutes from a Nunavut Wildlife Board meeting on Dec. 5, 2018.

“I encourage all hunters to take part in this program,” said Savikataaq.

Inuit Child First, Indigenous Services Canada

“Effectively managing our responsibility to the land, animals and the environment is essential. This program and research will help us to do that.”

A similar program saw wolf carcasses collected in the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions as part of a study involving the Université du Québec à Rimouski, according to the 2013 statutory report on wildlife provided to the Nunavut Legislative Assembly.

That study, which aimed to help scientists and policy-makers understand the importance of caribou to wolves’ diets, paid hunters $75 for stomach content, muscle, liver and hair samples.

The current wolf sample collection program has a similar aim, to help inform management decisions by allowing researchers to improve their knowledge of wolf ecology.

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by Wow, look at those big paws on

    Different to see a wolf than Nunavik wolves

  2. Posted by Putuguk on

    Now, if they would have started this around 15 years ago it would have been even better.

    This was when people were seeing literally herds of wolves in the region and the caribou were crashing. Would have been really good to know something about wolf ecology back then when hunters were raising these concerns and indicating that the wolves were too plentiful.

    It is very interesting to see the numbers reported here as we seem to be well past “peak wolf” at this point. A couple of decades ago it was not unusual for Kugluktuk hunters to take 3-500 in a year back then without any sample money on offer. We can only speculate what they were eating back then.

    The government failed to manage wolves while caribou were declining steeply. As a result, we do not know for certain what role they played in this due to this lack of information. As a result, the caribou crash is mostly a scientific mystery.

    Please continue to listen to Kugluktuk Angonaitit so this same mistake is not made as everyone tries to get the caribou to recover.

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