Media Advisory: New way for Canadians to explore threatened Arctic wildlife paradise launches today

WWF's interactive map brings footage and data together to demonstrate the need to properly protect Lancaster Sound

IQALUIT, May 11, 2016 /CNW/ -Exploring Lancaster Sound, a remote and biodiverse region in Canada's high Arctic, is easier than ever thanks to this new interactive map launched today by WWF-Canada. Available in English, French and Inuktitut, users can watch exclusive footage, read the story behind the region and dive deeper with rich mapping features, all to raise awareness of this natural treasure.

This launch comes at a time when Lancaster Sound is gaining recognition for both its candidacy for protection as a National Marine Conservation Area under the federal government's recent commitment to protect 5 per cent of marine areas by 2017 as well as for the disputed oil exploration leases with the proposed boundary.

WWF-Canada launched this map to connect southern Canadians with this seemingly far-off and remote region and draw attention to the need to protect the undeniable conservation value of Lancaster Sound. Currently unprotected, the region is home to people, polar bears, narwhals and belugas, and faces threats from oil and gas development.

For more than 30 years, communities have been working to protect the region from industrial development, and WWF-Canada is asking the federal government to finally make this region a priority by designating it as a National Marine Conservation Area and by updating its records to reflect the expiry of oil exploration leases in the region that should have expired in 1979.

About the map:

  • Accessible at
  • Available in English, French and Inuktitut
  • Features three sections:
    • Story, which showcases the history and importance of Lancaster Sound
    • Gallery, which showcases 50 videos and photos of the region and the people and species that live there
    • Explore, which allows users to discover how new development is intersecting with key habitats and species by mapping data collected from government, research and Inuit organizations.

About Lancaster Sound

  • The proposed National Marine Conservation Area has been under consideration by the federal government since the early 1970s and was initiated in response to an exploratory oil well proposal.
  • Twenty per cent of the Canadian beluga whale population migrates through the area each year en route to their summering grounds.
  • 70,000 narwhals, three quarters of the global population, return often to their favourite locations within the area.
  • Six critically important bird areas surround it.
  • It's at the southern edge of the Last Ice Area, the only Arctic region expected to retain its summer sea ice until 2050, making it a critically important zone for the future of ice-dependent life.


About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that wildlife, nature and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more info visit


For further information: Rebecca Spring, communications specialist,, +1 647-338-6274


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