The Nunavut Department of Environment is limiting the total allowable harvest of Dolphin and Union caribou to 42 animals as an interim measure after the latest analysis shows the herd is in sharp decline.
A recently released report based on a fall 2018 population estimate indicates that only about 4,000 of the caribou remain. That’s down from 18,000 in 2015 and an estimated 34,000 in 1997.
The Kitikmeot Regional Wildlife Board will decide how the 42 tags are distributed among the Ekaluktutiak Hunters and Trappers Organization in Cambridge Bay, the Kugluktuk Angoniatit Association, the Omingmaktok HTO and Burnside HTO.
The Department of Environment has consulted with those organizations in the past, but this interim total allowable harvest decision was made in “urgent and unusual circumstances of the herd’s decline,” said Patrick Huggins, policy analyst with the Department of Environment.
The hunting limit will be reassessed following formal consultations with the Kitikmeot wildlife and hunting organizations and affected communities in October. Recommendations from those consultations will be forwarded to the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board.
Prior to Friday’s limitation, there was no cap on the total allowable harvest for Dolphin and Union caribou, according to Huggins.