2010, pp 267-289

Understanding and Managing Wildlife in Hudson Bay Under a Changing Climate: Some Recent Contributions From Inuit and Cree Ecological Knowledge

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Abstract

In the last few decades, traditional and local ecological knowledge (TEK/LEK) have contributed information to understanding and managing wildlife. In the Hudson Bay region of the Canadian Arctic, there have been numerous initiatives to document Inuit and Cree knowledge regarding animal ecology, and this information has occasionally complemented ongoing scientific research. This chapter presents an overview of the existing TEK/LEK literature concerning two animal species of cultural significance in the Hudson Bay marine region, namely the common eider (Somateria mollissima sedentaria and Somateria mollissima borealis) and the polar bear (Ursus maritimus). For each of these species, some key insights offered by TEK/LEK are reviewed. Examples include population size and trends, animal health and behaviour, as well as the perceived effects of changing climate and ice conditions on animal populations. In addition, the following discussion compares and contrasts available TEK/LEK information on common eiders and polar bears with existing scientific knowledge in the same geographic region. In doing so, it identifies some of the challenges and opportunities generated by applying both local knowledge and western scientific information in wildlife management. Finally, potential areas of convergence between scientific expertise and TEK/LEK for understanding climate change and its impacts on marine mammals and marine birds in the Hudson Bay region are discussed.