Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut February 07, 2014 - 4:27 pm

GN looking for input on polar bear management plan

“Inuit values remain a central foundation"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
The GN, along with regional organizations, will host community consultations on polar bear management from now until April. (FILE PHOTO)
The GN, along with regional organizations, will host community consultations on polar bear management from now until April. (FILE PHOTO)

Community consultations are underway in Nunavut to gather opinions on how to manage the territory’s polar bear population.

The Government of Nunavut is working alongside Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., regional Inuit organizations and the hunters and trappers organizations to draft a polar bear management plan.

The plan, explains the GN website, should “reflect the needs of Inuit and build on Nunavut’s success in sustainable polar bear management.”

Consultations began in the Kitikmeot region this week. A community meeting will be hosted in Kugluktuk Feb. 7, 7:00 p.m. at the local recreational hall.

The goal of these consultations is to track the evolving relationship between Nunavummiut and polar bears, a species that Inuit note has grown in numbers since the 1960s.

But that claim has been at odds with science over the last few decades, with studies finding a decrease in some sub-populations.

The territory’s management plan must then balance conservation concerns with the increase in human-polar bear interactions and the desire of Inuit to continue to harvest the bear, said the GN.

The management plan aims to maintain health bear populations while ensuring that “Inuit values remain a central foundation in polar bear management,” says a draft plan distributed by the GN Feb. 7.

Community consultations move to Cambridge Bay Feb. 8, which will be hosted at the Arctic Island Lodge that evening at 7:00 p.m.

The remaining Kitikmeot tour dates incude:

- Feb. 11: Gjoa Haven’s Gideon Qitsualik Memorial Hall, 7:00 p.m;

- Feb. 13: Taloyoak’s Community Hall, 7:00 p.m;

- Feb. 15: Kugaaruk’s church hall, 7:00 p.m.

Consultations will visit the Kivalliq region later this month, before moving on to north and south Baffin in March and April.

You can find more information in the consultations, tour dates and a space to submit feedback online here.

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