WWF set to open new office in Iqaluit
Former Parks Canada manager Vicki Sahanatien starts work August 7
On August 7, World Wildlife Fund-Canada plans to open a new office in Iqaluit, to strengthen its Arctic program and increase its presence in Nunavut, the non-profit environmental group said in an August 1 news release.
To staff the new office, which will be located in the Nunavut Research Institute building, the WWF has hired Vicki Sahanatien, who lived and worked for many years in Nunavut, as its Arctic program’s senior officer, government and community relations.
Sahanatien spent 12 years leading and managing Arctic conservation programs with Parks Canada, including with the Nunavut Field Unit. During that time she consulted and worked closely with with management boards, Hunter and Trapper Organizations, Inuit elders, governments and universities on research, monitoring and planning, WWF said.
Sahanatien also has many years of on-the-ground field experience traveling on foot, ski, helicopter, snowmobile and boat in Nunavut.
Several years ago, Sahanatien started studying towards a Ph.D. at the University of Alberta.
Her research project on the Foxe Basin polar bear sub-population uses satellite collar data, sea ice satellite imagery and maps, and Inuit knowledge to understand how the annual evolution, dynamics, and structure of sea ice habitat influences polar bear movements.
With WWF-Canada, Sahanatien will work on long-term planning, development and management options in Nunavut, “while conserving ecological and traditional values,” the news release notes.
The WWF has previously suggested the creation of a “Last Ice Area” in the High Arctic. The WWF wants this area to be work on its conservation plan for this area of High Arctic ice, to offer a future to the polar bear and meet the needs of Inuit.
“Sahanatien and her colleagues at WWF will work to raise awareness and understanding of the significance of this region, and support local and regional planning efforts to conserve its ecological resilience,” the news release said.
This is not WWF-Canada‘s first office in Iqaluit. An earlier office, opened in 1998 and run by the late John Laird, was closed down several years ago.