Minister Aglukkaq travels to the United States to highlight Canada's world-class polar bear conservation

Canada's management system considers both science and Aboriginal traditional knowledge

OTTAWA, June 10, 2015 /CNW/ - On June 11-12, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, along with Canadian Inuit representatives will meet with their United States counterparts and major non-governmental organizations in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Minister Aglukkaq will discuss the essential role that the polar bear hunt plays in preserving the traditional way of life in Aboriginal communities across Canada's North. These discussions will increase understanding of Canada's robust management system that brings together both Aboriginal traditional knowledge and science to support decision-making for the management and conservation of polar bears.

Canada and the United States believe that convening stakeholders to discuss polar bear conservation will help foster a better understanding of the stringent environmental practices in place to manage the species while promoting constructive engagement among stakeholders.

Quick Facts

  • Canada has a robust management system in place for the polar bear that is founded on the land claims agreements and engagement with Inuit communities. The system considers both science and Aboriginal traditional knowledge, thus ensuring a high level of support from all stakeholders, and, importantly, from people living among polar bears in the north.
  • Our careful management and strong commitment to monitoring are reflected in the status of Canadian polar bear subpopulations.
  • According to the latest science and Aboriginal traditional knowledge, most Canadian polar bear subpopulations are considered to be likely stable, stable, or increasing.
  • Over the past five years, governments and other organizations in Canada have collectively invested over $9 million in polar bear monitoring.
  • Under the 1973 international Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears, Canada continues to cooperate with other circumpolar nations, including the United States, in the exchange of scientific and other information on the status and management of this highly important, and culturally significant, Arctic mammal.


"As an Inuk who was raised in the Canadian Arctic, I am proud that Canada's world class polar bear management system takes into consideration both science and Aboriginal traditional knowledge. Aboriginal people have a unique understanding of the environment, having lived off the land for thousands of years, so ensuring our voice is heard only improves our management of the species. I am thankful to our American hosts and hope this week's meetings will advance international awareness of the importance of traditional knowledge and Canada's commitment to the protection of the polar bear."
– The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council

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SOURCE Environment Canada

For further information: Contacts: Ted Laking, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of the Environment, 819-997-1441; Media Relations, Environment Canada, 819-934-8008


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