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Wildlife Research

The Wildlife Research section conducts scientific research and wildlife monitoring programs. This involves the collection, analysis, application and archiving of both scientific data and Inuit knowledge related to wildlife. Extensive community and stakeholder consultations are held to help in the development of management plans, regulations, and conservation recommendations for consideration by the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB). The Wildlife Research section works with Hunters and Trappers Organizations (HTOs), Regional Wildlife Organizations (RWOs), the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, and parks co-management committees, as well as national and international management bodies. Wildlife Research staff also review land use applications, monitor land use impacts, and develop recommendations with respect to wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Wildlife Operations

The Wildlife Operations section deals with wildlife management at the community level. A network of conservation officers across the territory ensures that wildlife laws and regulations are followed. These offices also serve as the main link with communities for a variety of programs relating to the use of renewable resources.

Conservation officers are stationed at wildlife offices in every Nunavut community and are responsible for:

  • Enforcing territorial laws concerning wildlife and the environment, including the Wildlife Act, the Territorial Parks Act and the Environmental Protection Act.
  • Enforcing federal laws that protect fish, marine mammals, and migratory birds, and that regulate the transport of wildlife and endangered species.
  • Planning and conducting regular field patrols in their enforcement areas.
  • Providing logistical and communications support and assisting in data collection for the Department of Environment's research activities.
  • Providing assistance in search and rescue operations.
  • Working with local HTOs to promote and educate the public on wildlife issues.
  • Explaining the Department of Environment's laws and legislation to Nunavummiut and promoting the Department's programs and initiatives.
  • Helping to run the fur pricing program, which involves fur grading and purchasing from local hunters.
  • Giving presentations at schools and community events on conservation issues and legislation.
  • Dealing with emergency wildlife issues such as rabid wildlife near communities.
  • Investigating defence kills of wildlife.
  • Conducting inspections of commercial, industrial, retail and residential facilities to ensure compliance with the Environmental Protection Act.

For more information, visit Wildlife Management Resources 

Wildlife Deterrence Program

By working with hamlets, Hunters and Trappers Organizations, conservation officers and community members, the Department of Environment wildlife deterrence program applies both science and Inuit knowledge to promote safe and sustainable coexistence between wildlife and humans.

The wildlife deterrence program aims to:

  1. Reduce the risk to human life by wildlife
  2. Reduce destruction of property by wildlife
  3. Reduce the number of defence kills

Wildlife Damage Compensation and Prevention Programs

The Department of Environment has two programs aimed at keeping the personal property of Nunavummiut safe from damage caused by wildlife.

The Wildlife Damage Compensation Program is intended to compensate individuals who have experienced an economic loss caused by wildlife. In order to be eligible for this funding, individuals must have taken appropriate preventative action to try to avoid wildlife-related damage to their property. It is important to note that this program is not intended to cover all costs associated with wildlife damage, but to provide Nunavummiut with some degree of economic relief in the event of unpreventable wildlife damage.

Program Document 

Forms and Applications:

Affidavit of Loss

Compensation Claim Form

The Wildlife Damage Prevention Program is intended to make it easier for Nunavummiut to get the equipment, materials and knowledge they need to reduce or prevent wildlife damage and increase human safety.

Local HTOs and Conservation Officers work together to implement this program: please contact either of them for more information.

Program Document 

Forms and Applications:

General Application

Project Request Form 001 - Wildlife Detection System

Project Request Form 002 - Portable Electric Fence System

Project Request Form 003 - Semi-Permanent Electric Fence 

Project Request Form 004 - Bear Resistant Containers

Project Request Form 005 - Wildlife Deterrents

Project Request Form 006 - Cache Protection

Project Request Form 007 - Reinforcement Materials

Project Request Form 008 - Other Projects

Staying "Bear Safe" in Nunavut

During Ukiaksaaq, the fall season before the sea ice freezes, many Nunavummiut experience an increase in polar bear sightings around their communities. In recent years, many hunters, elders, and community members have reported an increase in human-bear conflicts, such as bears getting into cabins, food caches or dump sites, and wandering through communities.  As bears migrate, their routes often take them near communities, and curiosity and hunger may overpower their natural inhibitions. This can be a stressful time for people, as bears can pose a threat to property and personal safety. There are measures that Nunavummiut can take to minimize human-bear conflicts.

Click here for some tips on staying "bear safe" in Nunavut.

Bear Safety Resources 

Bear Safety While Camping Poster


Avoid Bear Conflicts in Your Community Poster


What To Do If You See a Bear Poster


Travel Safe in Nunavut Poster


Bear Safety: Reducing bear-people conflicts in Nunavut (booklet)