Community-based evaluation of muskox health in the Canadian North

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: social sciences, traditional knowledge, muskox

Principal Investigator: Kutz, Susan M. (3)
Licence Number: 16202
Organization: Department of Ecosystem and Public Health
Licenced Year(s): 2018 2017
Issued: Jan 10, 2018

Objective(s): To investigate the impact of diseases and climate change on muskox population dynamics and evaluate how local community knowledge can be formally incorporated into wildlife monitoring, health policy, and management.

Project Description: The objective of this project is to integrate traditional ecological knowledge and western scientific methodology to investigate the impact of diseases and climate change on muskox population dynamics and evaluate how local community knowledge can be formally incorporated into wildlife monitoring, health policy, and management.

The research will be done simultaneously in two communities in the Canadian North Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, with a decreasing muskox population and Kugluktuk (Nunavut) where the muskox population is stable/increasing. Results will also be compared with the ongoing similar research in the community of Ikaluktutiak, Nunavut. Semi-structured interviews (individual and small groups) will be performed with Inuit community members (hunters, elders, women) and non-Inuit community stakeholders (outfitters, wildlife officers) in the communities of Ulukhaktok (Northwest Territories) and Kugluktuk (Nunavut). Participants will be recruited through the local Hunters and Trappers organizations, as well as through direct indication from earlier participants. The number of participants will be determined using the saturation approach: new participants will be included until no new information or thematic emerges from the interviews. The research team are expecting a sample size around 40 participants in each community. Interviews will be audio-recorded and transcribed. Transcripts will be thematically analyzed by the research team using both a deductive and an inductive approach. Data from participant observation will be also gathered during the stay in the community. The anonymized data and information generated from this study will also be shared with the communities through the local Hunters and Trappers Committees to be held in perpetuity. Members of the research team will author and share reports with the community directly and through the Aurora and Nunavut Research Institutes.

Hunters will also be invited to give feedback on sampling kits which will help improve monitoring of health status and diseases in the muskox population.

The research team will hold a feedback meetings with the participants during which the team will present a summary of the discussions and preliminary results from the interviews and group sessions. In addition, the research team will provide regular updates on the project through e-mails as well as through a printed bulletin distributed to the community members as well as other communities. A final meeting with the participants will be organized at the end of the project.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from January 10, 2018 to May 31, 2018.