Canada supports caribou conservation in Nunavut

News release

March 16, 2023 – Iqaluit, Nunavut

The Government of Canada continues to work with Inuit partners to protect nature, conserve biodiversity, and combat the effects of climate change on land, water, ice, and wildlife. Caribou have a spiritual and cultural significance to many Indigenous peoples and are central to Inuit well-being in the Arctic ecosystem. Partnerships and collaboration are essential to monitor and conserve the caribou herds across Nunavut’s vast and varied landscapes and seascapes.

Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced that the Government of Canada will invest $6.6 million over four years to support the Government of Nunavut’s multi-year research and monitoring activities of the 13 barren-ground, Dolphin Union, and Peary Caribou herds in the territory.

Minister Guilbeault made the announcement alongside the Honourable Joanna Quassa, Minister of Environment for Nunavut, at the Legislative Assembly in Iqaluit. The investment supports aerial surveys, the launch of a telemetry program using remote sensors, and significant data analysis. Data gathered on caribou migration patterns, habitat usage, and other trends will guide future decisions involving the culturally-significant species—such as allowable harvest quotas and improving understanding of the impacts of development. Caribou have provided food, tools, and clothes to the Inuit for thousands of years. The investment also supports ongoing engagement activities in communities throughout Nunavut in partnership with regional wildlife and hunting organizations.


“Inuit, First Nations, and Métis peoples are key partners in our work to conserve and protect nature and monitor the impacts of climate change in Canada. Through this investment, we’re ensuring that decisions around caribou, which hold special significance to the Inuit and all Canadians, are informed by current and accurate data as well as the unique insights, knowledge, and perspectives of Indigenous peoples.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“The Government of Nunavut and our co-management partners appreciate Environment and Climate Change Canada’s commitment to support caribou research. We look forward to continuing our collaborative working relationship on caribou management initiatives across Inuit Nunangat and the rest of the Canadian Arctic.”
– The Honourable Joanna Quassa, Minister of Environment for Nunavut

Quick facts

  • Barren-ground, Peary, and Dolphin Union Caribou are considered priority species under the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada.

  • Peary Caribou are listed as threatened on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. Barren-Ground Caribou, including Dolphin Union, are being considered for listing as threatened.

  • Peary Caribou are the smallest of all caribou subspecies and are found farther north than other subspecies of caribou in Canada in the Arctic. Their small size helps them to conserve heat in their arctic environment.

  • Dolphin and Union Caribou are found only in Canada and migrate twice annually between the mainland and Victoria Island. They are listed as special concern under the Species at Risk Act and are being considered for up-listing to endangered.

Associated links


Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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