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Update on recent actions taken under the Species at Risk (NWT) Act - polar bears and Dolphin and Union caribou


The Northwest Territories (NWT) Conference of Management Authorities (CMA), established under the Species at Risk (NWT) Act, has completed important steps towards the management and conservation of polar bears and Dolphin and Union caribou in the NWT.

Polar bears

The CMA has reached consensus respecting the implementation of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region Polar Bear Joint Management Plan and Framework for Action. This 'implementation agreement' summarizes what actions NWT Management Authorities intend to undertake to implement the management plan and framework for action. It follows the listing of polar bear as a species of Special Concern in the NWT and helps fulfill management and implementation requirements for this species under the Species at Risk (NWT) Act.

The management plan and framework for action were prepared collaboratively by the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), the Wildlife Management Advisory Council (WMAC) (NWT), WMAC (North Slope), the Inuvialuit Game Council, Environment Yukon, Parks Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada, with input from Indigenous governments and organizations and the public through consultation and engagement. The development process and final documents respect the joint management process laid out in the Inuvialuit Final Agreement.

The signed consensus agreement was provided to the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) on March 27, 2018.

There are no automatic prohibitions or protections for species or habitat that are associated with this action. Periodic co-management reviews of progress and new information will allow for implementation to be reviewed and adapted as appropriate. The progress of implementation will also be reviewed and reported on every five years. Implementation is subject to appropriations, priorities, and budgetary constraints of the Management Authorities.

Dolphin and Union caribou

The Management Plan for Dolphin and Union Caribou in the NWT and Nunavut was publicly released on March 29, 2018 in accordance with the Species at Risk (NWT) Act and following CMA adoption of this document on December 31, 2017.

The management plan was prepared jointly by the Government of Nunavut and the GNWT, in cooperation with the Government of Canada and co-management partners. Co-management partners involved in this process included: Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, Kitikmeot Regional Wildlife Board, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Kugluktuk Hunters and Trappers Organization (HTO), Ekaluktutiak HTO, Omingmaktok HTO, Burnside HTO, WMAC (NWT), Inuvialuit Game Council, Olokhaktomiut Hunters and Trappers Committee (HTC), and the Paulatuk HTC.

The management plan describes the management goals and objectives for Dolphin and Union caribou in the NWT and Nunavut and recommends approaches to achieve those objectives. The management plan will help Management Authorities decide what actions to take, how to prioritize their work, and how to allocate their resources in order to manage and conserve Dolphin and Union caribou.

The management plan meets the requirements for a management plan under the territorial Species at Risk (NWT) Act, the federal Species at Risk Act, and management needs in Nunavut. Development of the final management plan respected co-management processes legislated by the Inuvialuit Final Agreement and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

Recognizing the ecological, cultural, and economic importance of Dolphin and Union caribou, the goal of this management plan is to maintain the long term persistence of a healthy and viable Dolphin and Union caribou population that moves freely across its current range and provides sustainable harvest opportunities for current and future generations. Management approaches are focused on adaptive community-based co-management, communication and collaboration, knowledge and information gathering, monitoring, minimizing habitat disturbance and preserving sea-ice crossings, and ensuring management is based on population level. There are no automatic prohibitions or protections associated with the adoption of this management plan.

The CMA has until December 29, 2018 to develop a consensus agreement on the implementation of the management plan. This 'implementation agreement' will outline how the NWT Management Authorities for Dolphin and Union caribou intend to undertake implementation.


NWT Management Authorities for both polar bear and Dolphin and Union caribou are WMAC (NWT) and the GNWT.

Additional information on polar bears and Dolphin and Union caribou, as well as supporting documentation, is available at:

Quick facts:

  • The CMA consists of wildlife co-management boards and governments that share management responsibility for the conservation and recovery of species at risk in the NWT.
    • Members are: WMAC (NWT), Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board, Sahtu Renewable Resources Board, Wek'eezhii Renewable Resources Board, Tlicho Government, GNWT, and the Government of Canada.
  • The CMA makes decisions together on listing, conservation, management, and recovery of species that may be at risk of disappearing from the NWT.
  • All CMA decisions are made by consensus.