Hunters who lose their buried winter meat caches to hungry polar bears should be entitled to compensation from the territorial government, according to Tununiq MLA David Qamaniq.
“Caching meat is very hard work. We have to spend money to go out hunting of course, on items like gas, naphtha, ammunition, and grub,” Qamaniq said in the legislative assembly on Thursday. “Today there is a large population of polar bears that find and eat the cached
meat… The Government of Nunavut should take into consideration the loss of cached meats to lost to wildlife and have a pot of funding that hunters can apply to.”
Environment Minister Joe Savikataaq acknowledged that numerous Kivalliq caribou and marine mammal caches are dug up and consumed by polar bears, black bears and foxes. While the GN has compensation funds for wildlife damages to cabins or equipment, there’s nothing specific to lost meat caches, said Savikataaq, who added that it would be best for hunters and trappers organizations in Nunavut’s communities to send correspondence to the Department of Environment if they want to formally request compensation in such instances.
Qamaniq replied, “I am urging all Nunavut HTO boards to write to the minister of environment to review this matter of hunters losing their hard-earned caches to polar bears and to ask the department to set up funds specifically for that purpose.”