Nirjutiqarvik National Wildlife Area pamphlet

Nirjutiqarvik National Wildlife Area
Photo: A. Fontaine © Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2015. Nirjutiqarvik National Wildlife Area

What makes Nirjutiqarvik NWA so special?

Nirjutiqarvik National Wildlife Area (NWA) was established in 1995 to protect local seabird colonies and marine mammal populations. Located off the southern tip of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, the NWA covers more than 1783 square kilometres and includes Coburg Island, Princess Charlotte Monument and the surrounding waters within a 10-kilometre radius. Most of the island is covered in glaciers and ice fields, and the rest is rugged, mountainous terrain with peaks rising over 800 metres above sea level.

Nirjutiqarvik NWA is:

  • home to approximately 385 000 nesting seabirds including 11% of Canada’s breeding Thick-billed Murres and 16% of the Black-legged Kittiwakes;
  • one of the few known breeding sites for Atlantic Puffins in the Arctic;
  • the location of a recurrent polynya, an area of year-round open water;
  • an important feeding area for a variety of marine mammals including Polar Bears, Walrus, Belugas, Narwhal, and Ringed, Bearded and Harp Seals;
  • part of the Cambridge Point Important Bird Area.

Nirjutiqarvik NWA is managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada in partnership with the Area Co-management Committee of Grise Fiord, Nunavut.

What are Environment and Climate Change Canada Protected Areas?

Environment and Climate Change Canada establishes marine and terrestrial NWAs for the purposes of conservation, research and interpretation. NWAs are established to protect migratory birds, species at risk, and other wildlife and their habitats. NWAs are established under the authority of the Canada Wildlife Act and are, first and foremost, places for wildlife.

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries (MBSs) are established under the authority of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, and provide a refuge for migratory birds in marine and terrestrial environments. The current Protected Areas Network consists of 54 NWAs and 92 MBSs comprising more than 12 million hectares across Canada.

What can I do at Nirjutiqarvik NWA?

In the Nunavut territory, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement allows Nunavut beneficiaries to harvest wildlife for their economic, social and cultural needs. Access to Nirjutiqarvik 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. More information on access and permitting for Nirjutiqarvik NWA can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.

Canada Map
Long description of the map

Location of the NWA on an illustrated map of Canada. The NWA location is indicated by a general annotation in the province of Nunavut.

Who can I contact?

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Prairie and Northern Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 1714
Iqaluit, Nunavut X0A 0H0
Protected Area web site
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