Skip to main content

Migration Route and Seasonal Home Range of the Northern Hudson Bay Narwhal (Monodon monoceros)

  • Chapter
A Little Less Arctic

Abstract

The northern Hudson Bay narwhal (Monodon monoceros) population gathers in the area of Repulse Bay, Nunavut in the summer season. This population is hunted by local Inuit and co-managed by the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. There is some uncertainty as to the size of the population, the migration route this population takes to its wintering areas, if its winter range overlaps with that of other narwhal populations, and whether it is hunted by other communities during migrations. In the face of a changing climate, this ecological information is essential to understanding the success of the population in the future.

The main focus of this paper is to provide summer and winter home range data of narwhals, as well as migration routes. This in turn will help to determine if past aerial surveys covered appropriate areas and what boundaries should be considered for future aerial population surveys. Ultimately this information will contribute to written documentation of traditional ecological knowledge and may assist in determining if this population is a separate stock. Finally, this study establishes a baseline to evaluate future impacts of climate change on this Hudson Bay narwhal population.

Nine narwhals were tagged with satellite-linked tracking devices in August 2006 and 2007 in the vicinity of Repulse Bay, Nunavut. Whales were tracked using the ARGOS system for 100 to 305 days with two of the tags transmitting long enough to show the beginning of the migration from wintering areas back to summer areas in early May. The trajectories of the tagged narwhals were estimated from the ARGOS locations using a movement state-space model. Home range size for each data set was calculated using 95% and 50% kernel estimates. In addition, 17 hunters and elders were interviewed in the community of Repulse Bay in order to gather traditional ecological knowledge of the species to add to the scientific analysis. Results of local and scientific knowledge suggest that a portion of the summer home range falls to the east of past aerial survey coverage and that winter range does not overlap with that of other narwhal populations. Migration route of tracked animals coincide with traditional ecological knowledge of narwhal migration and suggests that this population is probably rarely hunted by other communities en-route between summer and winter areas.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 129.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 169.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 169.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Austin, D., McMillan, J.I., & Bowen, W.D. (2003). A three-stage algorithm for filteringerroneous Argos satellite locations. Marine Mammal Science, 19(2), 371–383.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • CLS America Inc. (2007). ARGOS User’s Manual. vi + 58 p. http://www.argos-system.org/documents/userarea/argos_manual_en.pdf

  • Berkes, F. (1999). Sacred ecology: traditional ecological knowledge and resource management. Philadelphia: Taylor & Francis.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bourassa, M.N. (2002). Inventaires de la population de narvals (Monodon monoceros) du nord de la baie d’Hudson et analyse des changements démographiques depuis 1983. Unpublished M.Sc. Thesis, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Rimouski, QC, Canada. xxii + 69 p.

    Google Scholar 

  • Britten, M.W., Kennedy, P.L., & Ambrose, S. (1999). Performance and accuracy evaluation of small satellite transmitters. Journal of Wildlife Management, 63(4), 1349–1358.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • de March, B.G.E., & Stern, G. (2003). Stock separation of narwhal (Monodon monoceros) in Canada based on organochlorine contaminants. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Research Document 2003/079. Fisheries and Oceans Canada: Science.

    Google Scholar 

  • de March, B.G.E., Tenkula, D.A., & Postma, L.D. (2003). Molecular genetics of narwhal (Monodon monoceros) from Canada and West Greenland (1982-2001). Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Research Document 2003/080. Fisheries and Oceans Canada: Science.

    Google Scholar 

  • De Solla, S.R., Bonduriansky, R., & Brooks, R.J. (1999). Eliminating autocorrelation reduces biological relevance of home range estimates. Journal of Animal Ecology, 68, 221–234.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. (1998). Hudson Bay narwhal. Canada Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Central and Arctic Region, DFO Science Stock Status Report E5-44, p. 5.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dietz, R., & Heide-Jørgensen, M.P. (1995). Movements and swimming speeds of narwhals (Monodon monoceros) instrumented with satellite transmitters in Melville Bay, Northwest Greenland. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 73, 2106–2119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dietz, R., Heide-Jørgensen, M.P., Richard P.R., & Acqaurone, M. (2001). Summer and fall movements of narwhal (Monodon monoceros) from northeastern Baffin Island towards northern Davis Strait. Arctic, 54, 244–261.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dietz, R., Heide-Jørgensen, M.P., Richard, P., Orr, J., Laidre, K., & Schmidt, H.C. (2008). Movements of narwhals (Monodon monoceros) from Admiralty Inlet monitored by satellite telemetry. Polar Biology, 31, 1295–1306.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ferguson, M.A.D., Williamson, R.G., & Messier, F. (1998). Inuit knowledge of long-term changes in a population of Arctic tundra caribou. Arctic, 51, 201–219.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gilchrist, G., Mallory, M., & Merkel, F. (2005). Can local ecological knowledge contribute to wildlife management? Case studies of migratory birds. Ecology and Society, 10(1), 20.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gonzalez, N. (2001). Inuit traditional knowledge of the Hudson Bay narwhal (tuugaalik) population, p. 26. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Iqaluit Nunavut.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heide-Jørgensen, M.P., Dietz, R., Laidre, K.L., & Richard, P. (2002a). Autumn movements, home ranges, and winter density of narwhals (Monodon monoceros) tagged in Tremblay Sound, Baffin Island. Polar Biology, 25(5), 331–341.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heide-Jørgensen, M.P., Richard, P., Ramsay, M., & Akeeagok, S. (2002b). Three recent ice entrapments of Arctic cetaceans in West Greenland and the eastern Canadian High Arctic. NAMMCO Scientific Publications 4, 143–148.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heide-Jørgensen, M.P., Dietz, R., Laidre, K.L., Richard, P., Orr, J., & Schmidt, H.C. (2003). The migratory behaviour of narwhal (Monodon monoceros). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 81, 1298–1305.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Higdon, J.W., & Ferguson, S.H. (2009). Loss of Arctic sea ice causing punctuated change in sightings of killer whales (Orcinus orca) over the past century. Ecological Applications, 19(5), 1365–1375.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hooge, P.N., Eichenlaub, W.M., & Solomon, E.K. (1999). Using GIS to analyze animal movements in the marine environment. Retrieved January, 2008, from http://www.absc.usgs.gov/glba/gistools

    Google Scholar 

  • Hooge, P.N., & Eichenlaub, B. (2000). Animal movement extension to ArcView ver. 2.0. Alaska Science Center-Biological Science Office, U.S. Geological Survey, Anchorage, AK.

    Google Scholar 

  • Huntington, H.P. (1998). Observations on the utility of the semi-directive interview for documenting traditional ecological knowledge. Arctic, 51(3), 237–242.

    Google Scholar 

  • Innes, S., Heide-Jørgensen, M.P., Laake, J.L., Laidre, K.L., Cleator, H.J., Richard, P., & Stewart, R.E.A. (2002). Surveys of beluga and narwhal in the Canadian High Arctic in 1996. NAMMCO Science Publications, 4(1), 69–190.

    Google Scholar 

  • IWC (International Whaling Commission). (1997). Report of the IWC workshop on climate change and cetaceans. Report of the International Whaling Commission, 47, 291–320.

    Google Scholar 

  • Johannes, R.E., Freeman, M.M.R., & Hamilton, R.J. (2000). Ignore fishers’ knowledge and miss the boat. Fish and Fisheries, 1(3), 257–271.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jonsen, I.D., Flemming, J.M., & Myers, R.A. (2005). Robust state-space modeling of animal movement data. Ecology, 86(11), 2874–2880.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kitchin, R., & Tate, N. (2000). Conducting research in human geography: theory, methodology and practice. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

    Google Scholar 

  • Koski, W.R., & Davis, R.A. (1994). Distribution and numbers of narwhals (Monodon monoceros) in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait. Meddr Grønland. Bioscience, 39, 15–40.

    Google Scholar 

  • Laidre, K.L., Heide-Jørgensen, M.P., & Dietz, R. (2002). Diving behaviour of narwhal (Monodon monoceros) at two costal localities in the Canadian High Arctic. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 80, 624–635.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Laidre, K.L., Heide-Jørgensen, M.P., Logdson, M.L., Hobbs, R.C., Heagerty, P., Dietz, R., Jorgensen, O.A., & Treble, M.A. (2004). Seasonal narwhal habitat associations in the high Arctic. Marine Biology, 145, 821–831.

    Google Scholar 

  • Laidre, K.L., & Heide-Jorgensen, M.P. (2005). Winter feeding intensity of narwhals (Monodon monoceros). Marine Mammal Science, 21(1), 45–57.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Laidre, K.L., Stirling, I., Lowry, L.F., øystein, W., Heide-Jørgensen, M.P., & Ferguson, S.H. (2008). Quantifying the sensitivity of Arctic marine mammals to climate-induced habitat change. Ecological Applications, 18(2), S97–S125.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nuttall, M., Berkes, F., Forbes, B., Kofinas, G., Vlassova, T., & Wenzel, G. (2005). Hunting, herding, fishing and gathering: indigenous peoples and renewable resource use in the Arctic. In: Symon, C., Arris, L., & Heal, B. (Eds.), Arctic climate impact assessment (pp. 661–702). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Orr, J.R., Joe, R., & Evic, D. (2001). Capturing and handling of White Whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in the Canadian Arctic for instrumentation and release. Arctic, 54(3), 299–304.

    Google Scholar 

  • Powell, R.A. (2000). Animal home ranges and territories and home range estimators. In: Boitani, L., & Fuller, T.K. (Eds.), Research techniques in animal ecology: controversies and consequences (pp. 65–110). New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Richard, P.R. (1991). Abundance and distribution of narwhals (Monodon monoceros) in northern Hudson Bay. Canadian Journal of Fish Aquatic Science, 48, 276–283.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stewart, D.B., Akeeagok, A., Amarualik, R., Panipakutsuk, S., & Taqtu, A. (1995). Local knowledge of beluga and narwhal from four communities in Arctic Canada. Canadian Technical Report on Fish Aquatic Science 2065: viii + 48p. + Appendices on disk.

    Google Scholar 

  • Strong, J.T. (1988). Status of narwhal (Monodon monoceros) in Canada. Canadian Field-Naturalist 102, 391–398.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tynan, C.T., & DeMaster, D.P. (1997). Observations and predictions of arctic climate change: potential effects on marine mammals. Arctic, 50(4), 308–322.

    Google Scholar 

  • Usher, P.J. (2000). Traditional ecological knowledge in environmental assessment and management. Arctic, 53(2), 183–193.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vincent, C., McConnell, B.J., Ridoux, V., & Fedak, M.A. (2002). Assessment of Argos location accuracy from satellite tags deployed on captive gray seals. Marine Mammal Science, 18(1), 156–166.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Westdal, K. (2008). Movement and diving of northern Hudson Bay narwhals (Monodon monoceros): relevance to stock assessment and hunt co-management. M.Env. Thesis. Department of Environment and Geography, University of Manitoba, p. 103.

    Google Scholar 

  • Worton, B.J. (1989). Kernel methods for estimating the utilization distribution in home-range studies. Ecology, 70(1), 164–168.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to K. H. Westdal .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Westdal, K.H., Richard, P.R., Orr, J.R. (2010). Migration Route and Seasonal Home Range of the Northern Hudson Bay Narwhal (Monodon monoceros). In: Ferguson, S.H., Loseto, L.L., Mallory, M.L. (eds) A Little Less Arctic. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-9121-5_4

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics