Nunavut hunters want clarity on compensation for shooting nuisance polar bears

“I know it wouldn’t be a huge payment”

Nunavut hunters who kill a polar bear in defence have found it’s difficult to collect payment from the territorial government if their home community has no wildlife officer. (File photo)

By Sarah Rogers

Nunavut hunters want to know whether they’re entitled to payments for killing nuisance polar bears.

Under Nunavut’s Wildlife Act, hunters who kill polar bears in order to protect people or property can be eligible for payment.

But with an uptick in polar bear sightings in communities in the Baffin and Kivalliq regions over the last year, MLAs say rules around defence kills need to be made clear.

Aggu MLA Paul Quassa put those concerns to Premier Joe Savikataaq as the winter session of the legislative assembly got underway on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Quassa noted a recent incident in his home community of Igloolik, where two polar bears were killed in defence.

“This incident illustrates the need for clear information to be provided to communities concerning the government’s rules and regulations in this area,” Quassa said during question period.

“Can the minister clarify what payment the department makes in a circumstance such as the one that recently occurred in Igloolik?”

Savikataaq, who also serves as minister of environment, said hunters must report those kills to their local wildlife officer, who must first determine if the kills were in fact made in defence.

At that point, defence kills are eligible for payment, which varies depending on how far the harvester travelled and if the animal carcass was returned skinned and butchered.

“Looking at it individually is the issue, how much they would be paid … I know it wouldn’t be a huge payment,” Savikataaq responded.

Hunters are supposed to turn over the animal’s skin and meat to their local hunters and trappers organization.

Savikataaq did not have statistics on the number of polar bear defence kills made in the territory over the last year, nor how much—if any—hunters were compensated for them.

Polar bear management has become a more pressing discussion in communities in recent months, following mauling deaths in two Nunavut communities last summer.

Later in Tuesday’s question period Pauloosie Keyootak, MLA for Uqqummiut, noted that some communities—like his own, Qikiqtarjuaq—don’t have a local wildlife officer to consult with on defence kills.

That’s meant that hunters who have made polar bear defence kills in the past have not been paid, Keyootak said.

“It’s not too long ago, maybe two years ago or starting last year, some people haven’t been paid because there are no wildlife officers,” Keyootak said.

But Savikataaq said old defence kills would likely be too difficult for the department to track and register.

Savikataaq acknowledged that issues arise in the absence of wildlife officers on the ground. “We could look into this for sure,” he said.

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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by Sam Crossley-Osborne on

    No, please don’t kill any Polar bears because they’re beautiful animals and there part of a wildlife nature for tourists to spot them in places where they can take lots of pictures. However Polar bears are classified as an endangered species and if you dare kill them, otherwise they’ll become extinct!

    • Posted by Consistency on

      Oh Sam you are one funny person or very ignorant to our way of life, and the true numbers of polar bears. So i dont get so angry i am going with FUNNY.

      • Posted by Sam Crossley-Osborne on

        I’m ain’t angry or inpatient, just reading the words correctly to understand and I’m useful and polite to everyone.

    • Posted by Oh ima on

      Yeah right buddy your not a real post you just want to start a senseless argument

      • Posted by Sam Crossley-Osborne on

        I’m not trying to cause any arguments between you, I’m just trying to help that’s all.

    • Posted by Tomasie Panipak on

      You’re knowledge of polar bear would be beneficial. Consider polar bears are vicious predators. If you have too many of them they will kill and eat seals right down to the last of them. They like the seal pups too so they know how to get them. More polar bears eat up more seal pups sometimes later there will be less seals as it is right now for us. That was predictable when coda was introduced. But the bright side of it is that polar bears eat other polar bears especially polar bear cubs. We know when you have too many wolves. They eat up their pray and one wolf starts running and others see them and join in on the run. These are very hungry wolves. If you shoot one of the and another gets blood splat on them that wolf also gets eaten. Needles to say wolves are vicious too.

    • Posted by Tommy on

      Dogs and cats are pretty. Polar bears are staple food and I’m not sorry to tell you that polar bears are not endangered.

  2. Posted by savage hunter on

    Sam Crossley-Osbourne, please feel free to come up North and preach instead of using the keyboard.
    If tourism were to be successful in Nunavut with tourists helping local guides and support staff, then I may agree with you. But no tourists are coming here.
    You’re gullible for believing the polar bears are endangered. Do some research instead of being brain-washed by Al Gore et al.
    You can come and see and pet a polar bear if you wish.

    • Posted by Sam Crossley-Osborne on

      No I wouldn’t because they are very dangerous animals but their cute, even though these species need protecting not just global warming but hunting and I love Polar bears. In some places, the safest way to see a Polar bear is stand in a buggy which protects you and the bears can not eat you at all.

  3. Posted by Sam Crossley-Osborne on

    Build protective fences all around towns, villages, docks and airports to keep all residents safe as possible so the Polar bears won’t attack anyone. Even though the fence has to be well made with strong metal or bullet-proof so the hungry beasts can’t break in.

    • Posted by Crystal Clarity on

      I think Donald Trump can benefit from your expertise if he ever starts building that wall.

      I guarantee you that fencing in communities as you suggested is a highly unlikely scenario. I’m betting that if you were face to face with a 1000 pound polar bear coming at you and there was a rifle nearby you would pick it up and shoot the bear.It’s a flight or fight situation for both of you. If you don’t pick up the gun and shoot it you will be dead. The polar bear is not going to leave you alone because it thinks you are cute.

    • Posted by Consistency on

      Now i for sure know your not for real. maybe we should just build a fence around each bear, then we can hunt seals and give them to the bears so they dont starve… no that wont work because you would probably be upset that seals are dieing… um what to do ….. what to do.

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