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Coordinated conservation action more important than ever for Dolphin and Union caribou

Dolphin and Union Caribou - Xavier Fernandez Aguilar

A new report on Dolphin and Union caribou shows how conservation and management actions have intensified over the last five years, as the species faces steep declines and changes to its distribution in the Northwest Territories (NWT) and Nunavut.

The Progress Report on the Management of Dolphin and Union Caribou was released today by the Conference of Management Authorities in coordination with the Government of Nunavut and other wildlife management partners in the NWT and Nunavut.

The report details the extensive action taken across both territories from 2018-2022 to implement the Management Plan for Dolphin and Union Caribou, from population surveys and community-based monitoring, to coordinated management of Arctic ship traffic and harvest restrictions.

Dolphin and Union caribou are currently listed as a species of Special Concern in both the NWT and Canada—the lowest level of risk for a listed species. However, the NWT Species at Risk Committee recently assessed them as Endangered in the NWT, meaning Dolphin and Union are facing imminent extinction if threats cannot be mitigated.

Progress reporting is required every five years under the Species at Risk (NWT) Act. This is the first progress report for Dolphin and Union caribou.

The full progress report and additional information on Dolphin and Union caribou and other NWT species at risk are available on this website.

For more information, contact:

Conference of Management Authorities
c/o NWT Species at Risk Secretariat
Phone: (867) 767-9237 ext. 53215

Photo: Xavier Fernandez Aguilar


  • Dolphin and Union caribou were listed under the federal Species at Risk Act in 2011 and under the Species at Risk (NWT) Act in 2015. The Management Plan for Dolphin and Union Caribou in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut was completed in 2018.
  • The Conference of Management Authorities (CMA) is the group of wildlife co-management boards and governments that share management responsibility for the conservation and recovery of species at risk in the NWT. The Management Authorities for Dolphin and Union caribou in the NWT are:
    • Wildlife Management Advisory Council (NWT)
    • Government of the Northwest Territories
  • NWT Management Authorities work closely with other partners in Nunavut and the NWT to take action on Dolphin and Union caribou. Management partners include the Government of Nunavut; Nunavut Wildlife Management Board; Kitikmeot Regional Wildlife Board; Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.; Inuvialuit Game Council; Hunters and Trappers Organizations and Hunters and Trappers Committees; and Government of Canada.
  • The range of Dolphin and Union caribou straddles the NWT and Nunavut, as the caribou migrate across the sea ice between Victoria Island and the mainland twice a year. Changes to sea ice freeze-up and break-up due to climate change and increased ship traffic are threatening migration. Dolphin and Union caribou are also affected by freezing rain and other extreme weather, industrial development and predators.
  • The 2018-2022 progress report includes upwards of 200 management actions taken over five years, including significant proactive measures by communities to reduce harvest pressure and develop solutions to mitigate the risks of icebreaking activities.
  • Dolphin and Union caribou are one of twelve species identified as “at risk” of disappearing from the Northwest Territories and legally listed under the Species at Risk (NWT) Act.