Inuit community and WWF successfully curb polar bear conflict | WWF

Inuit community and WWF successfully curb polar bear conflict

Posted on
31 January 2013
Arviat, Nunavut – A successful program to stop conflict between polar bears and people in the Hudson Bay community of Arviat in Canada has resulted in no bears being killed to protect the community in the past year. This is the first time in three years that no bears have had to be killed. The WWF-Hamlet of Arviat Human-Polar Bear Conflict Reduction Project has run for the past 2 years and will run again next year. The project is part of an international effort by WWF to reduce conflict between people and bears, conflict that can result in injury or death.
“In recent years, the community of Arviat has reported more and more polar bears near the town,” said Ed Murphy, Senior Administrative Officer for Arviat. “Reasons for this are unclear, but likely include climate related changes in sea ice habitat patterns forcing more bears to stay along the coast, and increases in Arviat’s population creating more bear attractants, including garbage at the dump. The community is increasingly concerned with the threat polar bears pose not just to property, but also to children and sled dogs.”

The project allowed the Hamlet to hire a polar bear monitor to patrol and discourage bears from entering the community from October through December, the three-month period with the most bear activity in the region. The Hamlet also provided steel bins for storing food, and installed electric deterrent fences around several of the community’s dog team pens.

“This project directly protects the community and the polar bear population, as well as increases community awareness of the situation,” said Bob Leonard, Mayor of Arviat. With ongoing support, we can hopefully continue to reduce conflict between people and polar bears in Arviat, and promote the harmonious and mutually dependent relationship with nature that the people of Arviat value so highly.”

The WWF-Hamlet of Arviat Human-Polar Bear Conflict Reduction Project was generously supported by donations from Coca-Cola Canada and other funders, as well as the Government of Nunavut.

About the Hamlet of Arviat

Arviat is a community of approximately 2,800 people, located on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay, 90 kilometres north of the treeline and about 250 kilometres north of Churchill, Manitoba, The second-largest community in Nunavut, Arviat has strong ties to the land, and its predominantly Inuit population has retained much of their traditional culture and language.

About WWF
WWF is creating solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature thrive.

For more information, please contact:
Keith Collier                         
Community Economic Development Officer       
Arviat, NU
(867) 857-2941

Pete Ewins
Senior Officer, Species   
Arctic Program, WWF-Canada
(416) 484-7711

Riannon John
Communications Specialist, WWF-Canada
(416) 347-1894

Bear repelled by electric fence in Arviat, Nunavut, Canada.
© Hamlet of Arviat