4,500 Square Kilometers of Canadian Arctic Protected, Three New National Wildlife Areas Established
Northern Fulmar photo: Wikipedia
Earlier in the summer it was announced that Canada would be protecting a large chunk of Ontario’s boreal forests from further development. Today brings word that nearly 4,500 square kilometers (1,740 square miles) of Arctic wilderness in Nunavut Territory will also be protected (ENS).
Three sites located on Baffin Island—Niginganiq (Isabella Bay), Qaqulluit (Cape Searle) and Akpait (Reid Bay)—will be given the status of National Wildlife Area. This means that the natural features of the area will be protected from disturbance and activities considered harmful to species living there or the habitat as a whole will be prohibited.Bowhead Whale photo: WikipediaMultiple Species' Habitat PreservedSpecies which will be protected in these areas include: in Niginganiq, bowhead whales; in Akpait and Qaqulluit large colonies of thick-billed murres and northern fulmars; in all three, walruses, seals and polar bears.
James Eetoolook, acting president of one of the five Inuit organizations which have been negotiating for the establishment of National Wildlife Areas in the region since 2001 said:
Inuit began negotiations for the three National Wildlife Areas in addition to the two already established, and eight Migratory Bird Sanctuaries in Nunavut in 2001. Today's historic signing with [Environment] Minister [John] Baird brings that work, along with the efforts to create the Niginganiq Wildlife Area, an internationally recognized bowhead whale sanctuary near Clyde River, to an end, and makes our years of struggles worthwhile. This is a big day for Inuit.
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