Commnunity-based monitoring of muskox and caribou health in Ulukhaktok

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: biology, caribou, muskox, wildlife health, harvester survey

Principal Investigator: Mavrot, Fabien PS (2)
Licence Number: 16965
Organization: University of Calgary
Licensed Year(s): 2022 2020
Issued: Feb 17, 2022
Project Team: Susan Kutz

Objective(s): To collect information on population, health and diseases of muskox and on caribou on a yearly basis.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.5078.

The research team aim to collect information on population, health and diseases of muskox and on caribou on a yearly basis as they were observed by community-member harvesting those animals. Those information will be pooled together with the data from the existing and on-going sample collection and analysis of muskox and caribou harvested in Ulukhaktok. This will serve to track changes in those species over longer time periods (years).

The data collection is planned as a yearly short survey : 20 caribou and 20 muskox harvesters who have been harvesting regularly in the previous year will be asked to participate. The survey will be conducted in a way that allows for social distancing: the participants will be given a written form that they will have to complete.

A monitor previously trained in the frame of the muskox monitoring program will assist to facilitate contact with the participants and allow the team to carry out the research without being on site. The survey is designed to take one hour or less to complete. The research team will record names and phone numbers for follow-up purpose only, the participants ID will be coded and the data will be treated anonymously for result analysis and sharing. The survey answers will be entered in an access database and reported on maps. Results will be summarized and compared to other years to track changes in muskox and caribou populations over time.

Research results will be shared with the Olokhaktomiut Hunters and Trappers Committee (OHTC), the community of Ulukhaktok, as well as with Wildlife Management Advisory Council, Inuvaluit Game council, and Environment and Natural Resources in form of reports and community bulletin. Community bulletins will be made available on the Facebook page and printed and distributed in the community. The team will also regularly update the OHTC of progress in the study through e-mails and phone calls (for example during the monthly general assemblies, as soon as they resume).

Once travel restrictions are lifted, group members will also travel to Ulukhaktok and attend the General Assembly of the HTC to report directly to the community.

Results of the seven interviews conducted during the first year of the project were shared with the HTC board at a Steering committee meetng in February 2021.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from February 18, 2022 to December 31, 2022