Inuit Attitudes towards Co-Managing Wildlife in Three Communities in the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut, Canada

Keywords: attitudes, Qamani’tuaq, Igluligaarjuk, Tikirarjuaq, co-management, Nunavut, polar bear, Ursus maritimus


We explored Inuit attitudes towards co-managing wildlife in the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut, Canada, working in partnership with the hunters and trappers’ organizations of Igluligaarjuk (Chesterfield Inlet), Tikirarjuaq (Whale Cove), and Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake). In mixed-methods interviews, study participants in the two coastal communities described dissatisfaction with polar bear (Ursus maritimus) management outcomes, in contrast to a general satisfaction with (or indifference to) the management of other species. Interviewees expressed concern about grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) and, more prominently, caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) populations in Qamani’tuaq, the inland community. Researchers have predicted that conflicts specific to polar bear management could lead to regulations being ignored or even defied and endanger the entire system of wildlife co-management. Our results indicate that dissatisfaction over decisions is specific to polar bear management outcomes and does not necessarily apply to the broader system of wildlife co-management. The results suggest that the Nunavut wildlife co-management system is quite functional: polar bear issues aside, Inuit in Qamani’tuaq, Tikirarjuaq, and Igluligaarjuk are largely content with the current functioning of the wildlife co-management regime.