Co-management approaches to polar bear management

Shorter ice seasons and less stable ice conditions affect harvesters’ access to polar bears. This has led to adjustments in the length of the period within which hunters are permitted to harvest an animal. As a result, co-management partners must balance the demand for fewer licenses held for longer periods of time with reduced hunting opportunities for all harvesters. Within Canada, there are multiple levels and structures of government that collaborate on polar bear management, including the Government of Canada, the provinces and territories, the national Polar Bear Technical Committee, the Polar Bear Administrative Committee, and a network of co-management boards in Inuit Nunangat that were established through negotiated land claim agreements. These boards are undertaking research, leading dialogues and making decisions at the local level in Inuvialuit, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut. These collaborative efforts are making substantive contributions to knowledge about polar bears and are also helping to integrate Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit into decision making and recommendations. Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit is defined as “all aspects of traditional Inuit culture including values, world-view, language, social organization, knowledge, life skills, perceptions and expectations” (Government of Nunavut, 1999). For example, in 2010, the Government of Nunavut started publishing supplemental Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit that supported and influenced dialogues about polar bears . Through the generous sharing of their knowledge, Inuit enhance polar bear management within Inuit communities, national organizations and internationally. Grâce au partage généreux de leurs connaissances, les Inuits améliorent la gestion de l’ours blanc au sein des collectivités inuites, des organisations nationales et à l’échelle internationale.

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