Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Stephen Guilbeault announces $6.6 million over four years for data gathering on caribou herds in Nunavut. (Photo by David Lochead)

Ottawa announces $6.6M to collect data on caribou

Research will better inform decisions on harvest quotas and land development, says federal environment minister

By David Lochead

The federal government has committed $6.6 million over four years to help research and monitor Nunavut’s caribou herds.

“For most people in the south, the only time they will ever see a caribou is when they pull a 25-cent coin out of their pocket,” federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said during a funding announcement at the legislative assembly in Iqaluit on Thursday.

“But here, caribou are part of a traditional way of life.”

The federal funding Guilbeault announced will support the Government of Nunavut’s researching and monitoring of the territory’s 13 herds that consist of barren-ground, dolphin union and Peary caribou.

Conducting aerial surveys and operating a remote sensor program to gather data were examples he offered of how the money will be spent.

The data that’s collected on caribou migration patterns, habitat usage and other trends will be used in future decision-making on harvest quotas and land development in the territory, Guilbeault said.

Barren-ground, Peary and dolphin union caribou are all seen as priority species under the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada.

However, barren-ground and dolphin union caribou are under consideration to be deemed endangered under the Species at Risk Act. Currently, they are listed in the act as special concern.

Nunavut Minister of Environment Joanna Quassa said the money will be spread out evenly over the four years.

When asked whether the funding will be enough to complete all the data collection that’s planned, including aerial surveys, Guilbeault said “the short answer, is I don’t know.”

The longer answer, he said, is that his government will continue working with the Nunavut government and Inuit organizations to ensure resources to complete all the research are accessible.

He added this type of data-gathering on caribou probably needs to be done on an ongoing basis.

Quassa said she didn’t have information immediately about how the data-collection funding will be shared for studying the different herds.

The federal government’s spending will also support regional and hunting organizations, Guilbeault said.

Also at the announcement was Jason Akearok, executive director of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, the leader in wildlife management and main regulator of access to wildlife in the territory.

“Caribou are very important to Inuit, and this funding will help in collectively managing caribou,” Akearok said.


Share This Story

(9) Comments:

  1. Posted by 867 on

    Should start by collecting data on the online sales of caribou meat and tracking and taxing the sellers. I’m guessing there are a few sellers in the kivalliq making over $100k per year and not paying any tax.

    Also collect data on the NWT ice road every year you hear of people shooting caribou for fun directly from their trucks and leaving the dead caribou to rot on the side of the road. Meanwhile they wanna blame building roads for declining population , ya ok… Wildlife officers always turning a blind eye to.

  2. Posted by Data on

    What happened to all the data collected by federal government over the years?
    There used to be wildlife biologists all over Nunavut. The prospecting and mining industry must have data, too.
    I hope this at least gives us real population numbers, finally.

  3. Posted by S on

    Headline would be more correct if it said:

    “Ottawa spends $6.6M to announce that it’s spending $6.6M to collect data on caribou”

    But even then it’d be incorrect, except for the “Ottawa spends $6.6M to announce” part

    There won’t be any new information about caribou collected as a result of this waste of money

  4. Posted by sure on

    Well this article almost makes it sound like the GN has not been doing this already, though with more money hopefully more can be done.

  5. Posted by baffin islanders on

    While people from baffin island have a quota each year, people from igloolik, hall beach come to baffin island land and hunt for unlimited caribou an nothing is done to them.. while we bafiners need to be drawn in order for a chance to hunt for caribou.. soo many igloolik families with unlimited caribou from baffin island where its baned.. this needs to be looked into. iglooolik HTO aint saying nothing to protect their own inuqatiks.

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *