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‘I do not agree’: Baffin caribou hunting ban surprises some

A hunter in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, says he was surprised by the Nunavut government’s move to ban all caribou hunting on Baffin Island beginning Jan. 1. ‘We hunters have always taken only what we need,’ says Quvianaqtulia Tapaungai.

‘There should have been more consultations prior to the announcement,’ says Quvianaqtulia Tapaungai

A hunter in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, says he was surprised by the Nunavut government’s move to ban all caribou hunting on Baffin Island beginning Jan. 1.

“I understand the concern,” says Quvianaqtulia Tapaungai. “We all know the numbers are low, but I do not agree with the moratorium. As hunters, we have always taken only what we need so if there are people over-hunting, I agree, but there should have been more consultations prior to the announcement."

Bans on hunting have been imposed by Inuit in the past.

Tapaungai feels that in this case, there should have been more local input.

He says a tag system or a limited quota could have been put in place.

The Nunavut government says it met with co-management partners in November 2014, including a representative from each of the hunters and trappers organizations in the Baffin region.

Environment Minister Johnny Mike says the temporary ban is necessary.

“This is a short term pain for a long term gain,” he says. “This interim moratorium will allow us to preserve Baffin Island caribou for future generations. The interim moratorium will probably impact the transfer of traditional knowledge about caribou on the island."

Results of a recent survey show there are about 5,000 caribou left on Baffin Island, a decrease of up to 95 per cent of the animals estimated in the 1990s.

Mike hopes hunters will work closely with local hunters and trappers organizations and other groups to gather data and make sure the ban is respected.

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