Akpait National Wildlife Area


The Akpait (the Inuktitut word for "murres") National Wildlife Area (NWA) was designated in 2010. A promontory overlooking Akpait Fiord, the NWA is situated approximately 130 kilometres (km) southeast of Qikiqtarjuaq (formerly Broughton Island) and 37 km northeast of Cape Dyer, on the northeastern tip of the Cumberland Peninsula of Baffin Island, Nunavut. The NWA comprises a significant marine portion. The terrestrial portion is divided into steep cliffs that rise dramatically to 915 meters above sea level with a complex series of steep rock pinnacles and ridges bordered by a high talus slope and beach.

Akpait National Wildlife Area, photo: Garry Donaldson  


The Akpait NWA contains identified key marine habitat supporting numerous seabirds, including one of Canada's largest Thick-billed Murre colonies, estimated at 133,000 pairs, about 10% of the Canadian population. Northern Fulmars are also present, having estimated about 20,000 breeding sites so far. About 1,200 pairs of Black-legged Kittiwakes also nest at Akpait NWA . Glaucous Gulls and Black Guillemots also breed at Akpait and on occasion, Atlantic Puffins have been known to nest there as well. Polar Bears, Walruses and several seal species also frequent the marine portion of the NWA .

More information on Akpait NWA is provided in the summary table below.


NWA are protected and managed according to the Wildlife Area Regulations under the Canada Wildlife Act. The primary purpose of NWAs is the protection and conservation of wildlife and their habitat. For this purpose, and according to the legislation, Environment and Climate Change Canada can prohibit all activities in a NWA that could interfere with the conservation of wildlife. Consequently, most NWAs are not accessible to the public and all activities are prohibited. Nonetheless, Environment and Climate Change Canada has the ability to authorize some activities, whether through public notice or the issuance of permits, as long as these are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA . For more information, consult the NWAs Management and Activities section.

In the Nunavut territory, Nunavut beneficiaries, as per the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA), can harvest wildlife (including collecting migratory bird eggs and feathers) for their economic, social and cultural needs (Article 5 of the NLCA). Akpait NWA , as per the NLCA and Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement for conservation areas, is managed in partnership by Environment and Climate Change Canada with the Sululiit Area Co-management Committee (ACMC) of Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut.

Access to Akpait NWA is restricted except for Nunavut beneficiaries. For all non-beneficiaries, a permit must be obtained to either access or conduct any type of activity in the NWA . Activities that may be permitted will be in accordance with the conservation objectives of the NWA management plan.

More information on access and permitting for Akpait NWA can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.

Map of the Area

Long description of the map

Map showing an area in the Davis Strait and Baffin Island in Nunavut. The boundaries of Akpait NWA are indicated. The protected area covers a portion of the north eastern edge of the cumberland Peninsula on Baffin Island and extends out into the Davis Strait. The scale on the map is in kilometers. Permanent water is indicated on the map. A small inset national map situates the NWA in Canada.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Akpait NWA can also be viewed using Google Maps. Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name.

Summary Table

This table provides summary information for the Akpait NWA.
Category Information
Protected Area designation NWA
Province/territory Nunavut
Latitude/longitude 66°56' North / 61°46' West
Size 79,146 ha
Reason for creation of protected area Contains at least 10% of Canadian breeding population of Thick-billed Murres.
Date created (Gazetted) 2010 - Legal Description
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category Ib - Wilderness Area
Additional designations
Keystone or flagship species Thick-billed Murre.
Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) Polar Bear (Special Concern)
Main habitat type Mostly marine with a terrestrial portion (steep rock pinnacles and ridges bordered by a high talus slope and beach).
Faunistic and floristic importance Key marine habitat supporting numerous seabirds.
Invasive species None recorded
Additionnal links

Birds: Northern Fulmar, Black-legged Kittiwake, Glaucous Gull, Black Guillemot, and Atlantic Puffin.

Mammals: Walrus.

Main threats and challenges Increased shipping for hydrocarbon exploration (threat of oil spills), development and cruise ships.
Management Agency Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)
Public access and usage None except for Nunavut beneficiaries and people with appropriate permits.

Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page and any notice posted at the NWA site, the notice prevails as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity.

Related Documents

Contact Information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Prairie Northern Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas and Stewardship
P. O. Box 1870
Iqaluit, Nunavut X0A 0H0

Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca

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