The Inuvialuit of the Yukon North Slope have formed a Wildlife Advisory Council, a co-management body, comprised of federal, territorial, and Inuvialuit representatives, and they are working closely with researchers from the Round River Organization to develop a management plan that reflects how the Inuvialuit use Arctic resources and their understanding of seasonal habitat use by fish and wildlife. This process for integrating Traditional and Western science in the Inuvialuit Settlement Area will provide an important example for how other scientists and managers can work with native communities to fulfill the need for wildlife and management plans in other places.
Researchers reviewed existing local knowledge publications and recorded information from local workshops and interviews to develop detailed maps and descriptions habitat for caribou, moose, grizzly and polar bears, Dolly Varden Char, Broad Whitefish, geese, muskox and Dall’s sheep. Changes in distribution patterns and impacts from climate change have also been observed, especially for caribou. These changes include different migration routes and timing of migration. A report describing the knowledge gathered was submitted to the communities for review and use in the next phase of developing the management plan. The Inuvialuit Traditional Knowledge of Wildlife Habitat on the Yukon North Slope final report can be viewed here:
Documenting local knowledge of wildlife habitat and distribution promises to be useful and effective in managing wildlife by local users. This baseline wildlife assessment will inform multiple products including habitat models and connectivity mapping based on traditional knowledge and Western science data.