Canadian Arctic/Nunavut

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Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus), Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada.
© WWF / Fritz PÖLKING

The land of the Inuit people

What and where?
Nunavut became part of Canada in 1999, following a land claims agreement. Formed from the eastern part of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut covers some 2 million sq km and stretches all the way to the North Pole.

It is the home of the Inuit people of the Eastern and Central Arctic, who make up 85% of the current population. Nunavut means 'our land' in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit.

Spanning 3 time zones and including 1/5th of Canada's total land area, it is bounded on the east by Baffin Bay, the Davis Strait, and Quebec's Ungava Peninsula and on the south by Manitoba. Nunavut encompasses most of Canada's Arctic islands, including Ellesmere, Baffin, Devon, Prince of Wales, Southampton, and Coats, as well as the islands in Hudson and James bays.

The landscape is dominated by tundra, rock, and snow and ice.

Why?
The Canadian Arctic is unlike any other area. With an indigenous culture thousands of years old, the cultural traditions of the Arctic are a rich blend of harsh survivalism and a spiritual tie to the land. The spectacular scenery and diverse geography is also home to some spectacular wildlife, including polar bears, grizzly bears, grey and Arctic wolves. Within the Arctic Ocean, one can see orcas, walruses, harp seals, and narwhals.

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