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Greater vigilance over Dolphin and Union caribou

Representatives from hunters and trappers organizations in the Kitikmeot and the Beaufort Delta region of the NWT will aim to meet more regularly and jointly with wildlife technicians from both territories to discuss the status of the Dolphin and Union caribou herd.

That was one of the recommendations from an Aug. 16-17 meeting of hunters and trappers in Ulukhaktok, according to Larry Adjun, chair of the Kugluktuk HTO, who attended the gathering.

"It was a joint co-management meeting on Dolphin and Union (caribou), and they want to have at least four meetings annually to keep an update," said Adjun. "We want to keep on top of it early enough before the herd goes down."

Cambridge Bay, Kugluktuk, Bathurst Inlet and Bay Chimo are the communities and traditional areas closest to the Dolphin and Union herd in Nunavut while Ulukhaktok and Paulatuk are most affected in the NWT, Adjun said.

The last Dolphin and Union caribou population estimate in 2015 showed that about 18,500 of the animals are still surviving, according to the Department of Environment. The herd numbered close to 100,000 in the early 1900s.

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada deemed the herd to be endangered in late 2017.

Adjun noted that Kugluktuk stopped caribou commercial and sport hunting in 2007.

"I think we're the only Nunavut HTO that has its own management plan for managing our herd as opposed to having a GN-imposed management plan," he said. "We've always been proactive working with the wildlife department here."