A file photo of a polar bear in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. Steven Baryluk/GNWT
The polar bear will remain on the NWT list of species at risk for at least another 10 years as a species of special concern.
The NWT’s environment minister this week accepted a recommendation from a group of wildlife management boards and governments – the Conference of Management Authorities – to preserve the polar bear’s status on the list.
The conference had reached a consensus on the matter in April. Polar bears have been a species of special concern in the territory since 2012 and across Canada since 2011.
“Adding a species to the NWT list of species at risk does not result in any automatic prohibitions or protections for the species or its habitat,” the conference wrote in a press release. More information about the decision can be found on its website.
The decision does, however, require governments and agencies responsible for polar bears to put in place goals for the management and recovery of polar bear numbers.
A plan for polar bears in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region already exists, with a key goal of “ensuring the long-term persistence of healthy polar bears in the ISR while maintaining traditional Inuvialuit use.”