In the last 20 years there has been an astonishing number of changes in research and management of wildlife in the Northwest Territories (N.W.T.). The traditional roles and viewpoints of government departments and native people are evolving with remarkable speed. Factors such as settlement of land claims, a rapidly increasing native population, changing patterns of renewable resource use, and the influence of independent environmental groups are becoming increasingly important. ... In summary, it is clear that sustained use of wildlife will continue to be fundamental to the culture and economy of native people in the N.W.T. for the foreseeable future. At the same time, it must not be forgotten that wildlife and wilderness are also very important to non-native people and they should not be overlooked in the rush to settle land claims. Although the majority of the harvested wildlife populations are reasonably secure at the moment, that will not continue indefinitely. Change stimulated by natural causes alone is fundamental to biology. In addition, wildlife in the N.W.T. remains vulnerable because of increasing demand by a rapidly expanding human population, the potential impact of industrial development on habitat, the longer term negative effects of global pollution, and the uncertainties of climate change. In a world becoming generally more opposed to any killing of animals, it is essential that critics understand the importance of hunting and trapping to cultural values and that harvested populations be sustained. As never before, the consumptive and non-consumptive use of wildlife in the N.W.T. must be guided, and seen to be guided, by scientific research of unquestionable quality. Yet science is only part of the answer. The unique knowledge and cultural practices of northern native people must also be kept intact. With imagination and mutual respect between groups, traditional and modern approaches could be combined to develop wildlife management in the N.W.T. in a way that would be the envy of the world.
Orientation, migration routes and flight behaviour of knots, turnstones and Brant Geese departing from Iceland in spring
Arctic, v. 43, no. 3, Sept. 1990, p. 201-214, ill., maps
ASTIS record 30643
Flight behaviour and orientation of 303 flocks (31,200 individuals) of migrating Knots and Turnstones and 77 flocks (3200 individuals) of Brant Geese departing from Iceland towards Nearctic breeding grounds were recorded during three spring seasons 1986-88. Flocks were tracked by telescope and optical range finder at three observation sites in western Iceland during the peak period of migratory departure, 25 May-1 June. Departing waders climbed steeply, often by circling and soaring flight, with an average climbing rate of 1.0 m/s, up to altitudes 600-2000 m asl. With unfavourable winds, the waders descended to fly low over the sea surface. Brant Geese usually travelled at lower altitudes, the majority below 100 m above the sea, and were more prone towards following coastlines than waders. The birds departed in flight formations, with mean flock sizes 100-200 individuals in the Knot, 13-70 individuals in the Turnstone and about 40 individuals in the Brant Goose flocks. Waders generally departed in the afternoon or evening, during rising or high tide. Significant differences in daily timing between seasons were associated with between-year differences in the tidal cycle. Within the season, departures took place earlier in relation to high tide as the season progressed. Brant Goose departures occurred in the morning and late evening. Mean orientation was close to 300 degrees in all three species, with angular deviation 21-26 degrees. It is concluded that the overwhelming majority of the birds are bound for breeding sites in northern Canada and northwest Greenland. The main flight route, as can be deduced on the basis of visual, radar and ringing data from Iceland, Greenland and Canada, falls in the 290-310 degrees rhumbline sector from Iceland, across the Greenland ice cap. There are simple celestial and magnetic orientation rules that would allow birds to orient from Iceland to northern Canada close to a great circle route, but not along the rhumbline route used by the Knots, Turnstones and Brant Geese.
Density distribution of fish in the presence of whales at the Admiralty Inlet landfast ice edge
Arctic, v. 43, no. 3, Sept. 1990, p. 215-222, ill., 1 map
ASTIS record 30644
Hydroacoustic techniques were used to search for fish beneath landfast sea ice in Admiralty Inlet, Northwest Territories, Canada, when narwhal (Monodon monoceros) and beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) were congregating at the ice edge in the mouth of the inlet. Fish, presumably Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida), were distributed in the water column within four general layers or zones; near the ice undersurface, about 40 m deep, about 80-100 m deep, and about 150-200 m deep. The distribution of the first three layers roughly corresponded with the distribution of larger zooplankters, also estimated hydroacoustically. We recorded higher densities immediately below the ice than farther down in the water column. Maximum density in both regions occurred about 10 km from the ice edge. Fish density was low in the immediate vicinity of the ice edge. The distribution of fish underneath the landfast ice of Admiralty Inlet is postulated to have been influenced by the distribution of zooplankton, their principle food source, rather than by the presence of whales.
Beaver dams are ubiquitous in subarctic wetlands, where runoff in the flat terrain is highly prone to changes as the stream courses are modified by beaver activities. Depending on the state of preservation, stream flow can overtop or funnel through gaps in the dams, leak from the bottom of the dams or seep through the entire structure. Peak and low flows are regulated by these dams to a varying extent. The formation of beaver ponds causes local flooding, while the open water surfaces of the ponds increase water loss from the wetlands. Water spilled from the dams may cause diversion channels to produce complex drainage patterns. Comparing the water balance of basins with and without a beaver dam at its outlet confirms that the dammed basin lost more water to evaporation, suppressed the outflow and increased the basin water storage.
Growth and dispersal of an erupting large herbivore population in northern Canada : The Mackenzie wood bison (Bison bison athabascae)
Arctic, v. 43, no. 3, Sept. 1990, p. 231-238, ill., maps
ASTIS record 30646
In 1973, 18 wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) were introduced to the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary. The population has grown at a mean exponential rate of r = 0.215 ± 0.007, reaching 1718 bison >= 10 months of age by April 1987. Analysis of annual population growth revealed a maximum exponential rate of r = 0.267 in 1975, followed by a declining rate, reaching a low value of r = 0.013 in 1987. Selection predation on calves was proposed as a mechanism to explain the declining rate of population growth. The area occupied by the population increased at an exponential rate of 0.228 ± 0.017 sq km/yr. The dispersal of mature males followed a pattern described as an innate process, while dispersal of females and juveniles exhibited characteristics of pressure-threshold dispersal.
6500 BP Oldsquaw duck (Clangula hyemalis) from northern Ellesmere Island, Arctic Archipelago, Canada
Arctic, v. 43, no. 3, Sept. 1990, p. 239-243, ill., 1 map
ASTIS record 30647
A nearly complete skeleton, including partially preserved feathers, of an Oldsquaw duck (Clangula hyemalis L.) was recovered from Holocene marine deposits in Clements Markham Inlet, Ellesmere Island, N.W.T., Canada. The specimen was 2 m lower in the section than allochthonous terrestrial plants previously dated at 6400 ± BP (Sl-4314) and is estimated to be 6500 years old. These deposits represent a marine, prodeltaic sedimentary environment that emerged from the fiord as the result of postglacial isostatic uplift. Comparison of the specimen's present elevation and age with the inlet's emergence curve indicates the duck was buried in a paleowater depth of 38 m. Isostatic uplift is ubiquitous in the Canadian Arctic, exposing ocean bottoms and prodeltas. The deposits from these environments deserve closer scrutiny for fossils by Quaternary scientists, as they can contribute to a better understanding of the biologic development of the Canadian Arctic.
Subsurface profiles were obtained during airborne and surface short-pulse radar surveys along a winter roadway over the Tanana River near Fairbanks, Alaska. The roadway crossed ice-covered channels and intervening frozen channel bars. The airborne profiles were intended for ice thickness profiling but also revealed sporadic reflections from a deeper horizon beneath the bars. Later profiling from the surface recorded these deeper reflecting horizons in detail, and they were found to correspond with the base of seasonal frost, measured in drill holes. The sediments immediately beneath the frozen material were saturated and represented the top of a seasonally variable groundwater table confined and controlled by frost penetration. The profiles made from the surface also revealed reflections from the bottom of the ice and the channel bottom. However, no significant reflections were observed beneath the channel bottom; reflections from sloping horizons above and below the base of the frost in the bar may indicate alluvial bedding patterns in these deposits. Eleven holes were drilled along the roadway to determine ice thickness, water depth, frost depth and the depth to the river ice-alluvium contact. Wide-angle reflection and refraction soundings were also made to determine electrical properties of materials and to verify our depth interpretations from echo times. These observations indicate that the airborne technique provides an effective method of locating unfrozen channels and measuring the depth of frost penetration beneath bars. The surface surveys revealed additional data on sedimentary structure.
Vihtr'iitshik : A stone quarry reported by Alexander Mackenzie on the lower Mackenzie River in 1789
Archaeological Survey of Canada
Arctic, v. 43, no. 3, Sept. 1990, p. 251-261, ill., maps
NOGAP project no. F.01 : Northern hydrocarbon archaeology : A coordinated attempt at developing an integrated archaeological resource management system within the NOGAP area
ASTIS record 30649
The analysis of archaeological specimens gathered in 1988 at the mouth of the Thunder River (MiTi-1), lower Mackenzie Valley, indicates that the locality's primary function was as a quarry/workshop. Historical and toponymic data show that this was likely the quarry identified by Alexander Mackenzie on 24 July 1789. Collections from the southwest Anderson Plain contain high proportions of Thunder River siliceous argillite, some obtained from beach gravels or till deposits, while some were obtained from primary geological deposits. In collections from peripheral areas, Thunder River siliceous argillite is occasionally found and often consists of the end-products of lithic reduction. It is especially interesting to confirm the presence of Thunder River siliceous argillite in Mackenzie Delta Inuit sites. A critical evaluation of all available data shows that Alexander Mackenzie's journal was relatively accurate with respect to this lithic source.
Tourism is an important sector of Alaska's economy; 23% of 4202 parties of tourists vacationing in Alaska from October 1982 to September 1983 indicated they hunted or fished. Tourists making consumptive use (hunting or fishing) of wildlife differed significantly from other visitors. Those who hunted or fished: (1) were in larger groups that contained a higher proportion of males; (2) tended to be younger; (3) were more involved in planning their vacation as indicated by starting the planning for their trip earlier and using more sources of information; (4) spent longer in the state and camped more often; (5) were more likely to charter aircraft within Alaska; (6) rated their experience highly, but thought they received a lower value for monies spent; (7) expended fewer total funds on their vacation; and (8) were more likely to return to Alaska than their counterparts who neither hunted nor fished. Visitors who used wildlife consumptively provided funds directly to the state for the conservation of these species through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and the subsequent receipt by the state of federal funds via the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson acts. No formal mechanism exists for nonconsumptive users to aid wildlife conservation even though some nonconsumptive uses of resources are detrimental to wildlife. Although wildlife and their habitats are an important attractor for tourists, too little attention is given to the long-term benefits from the tourism industry in assessing the economic value of resource development and use that affects wildlife.
Paleoecological significance of mummified remains of Pleistocene horses from the North Slope of the Brooks Range, Alaska
Arctic, v. 43, no. 3, Sept. 1990, p. 267-274, ill., 1 map
ASTIS record 30651
Radiocarbon dates from horse fossils found on the North Slope of Alaska show that horses did live there during the last peak glacial (Duvanny Yar Interval, Marine Isotope Stage 2). Some previous paleoecological studies have assumed the region's climate was too extreme for large mammals during the Duvanny Yar. Hoof structure suggests the Pleistocene horses survived on winter range characterized by low snowfall and/or snow removal by wind. Hoof growth rate suggests a substantial dietary volume of exposed dead grass during winter; hoof wear pattern indicates the horses were able to remain relatively sedentary, requiring neither long-distance winter migration nor constant digging through snow for food. Bones with mummified soft tissue may have been buried and preserved by wind-drifted eolian silt.
An annual census of adult birds was conducted on the 43 sq km Truelove Lowland, Devon Island, N.W.T., Canada, in the summers of 1970-73 and 1978-89. Forty-three species were seen during 16 years. Of these, 18 species bred regularly on or immediately adjacent to the lowland and 10 were occasional breeders. In addition 15 species were visitors. The highest annual number for most breeding species was two to three times that of their lowest numbers, but some regular breeding species had far greater extremes. Extensions of the breeding range of Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica), Purple Sandpiper (Calidris maritima), Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), and Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta) to Devon Island are reported. It is suspected that Hoary Redpolls (Carduelis hornemanni) and Red Knots (Calidris canutus) also nested there once each. A coefficient of detectability is presented for the 16 most frequently seen species. Synchronous fluctuations in Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) and Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) populations were observed. A possible replacement of Black-bellied Plovers (Pluvialis squatarola) by Lesser Golden-Plovers (P. dominica) was detected. An abrupt disappearance of all colonies of breeding Arctic Terns (Sterna paradisaea) from the lowland was seen in 1989.
The Antarctic Treaty System has successfully managed Antarctica and the surrounding Southern Ocean since 1961 despite the existence of conflicting sovereignty claims and calls from the Third World for greater international participation in the continent's management. The spectre of unregulated mining activities in Antarctica caused the parties to the Antarctic Treaty to negotiate the Convention for the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities in 1988. However, the entry into force of the convention is now being challenged by Australia and France, who propose a prohibition on mining in Antarctica and favour the negotiation of a comprehensive environmental protection regime for the Antarctic. The development of a world park in Antarctica has been promoted since 1972, and during the 1980s various international environmental organizations gave enthusiastic support to the concept. A meeting of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties in 1989 resolved to further discuss in 1990 the implementation of comprehensive environmental protection measures in Antarctica. While 1990 may be a pivotal year in the current debate over the environmental future of Antarctica, 1991 is potentially more significant, as the Antarctic Treaty will then become eligible for a comprehensive review. This raises the prospect of substantial changes to the Antarctic regime.
Jack Crowell supported, led, and advised the work of innumerable people for many years in Greenland, northern Canada, the Arctic Ocean and Antarctica. He was a master mariner by training and he applied the discipline and skills of that calling throughout the transition of polar development from the age of sail to the jet age. ... every aspect of polar activity and development interested him, and he gave it his best support for more than forty years. ... [In 1953] Crowell joined the staff of the Northeast Air Command at Fort Pepperell in St. John's, Newfoundland, as a technical advisor in the Arctic Division. He was thus directly involved in planning and the initial site landings for DEW Line stations in Canada and HIRAN sites on the Greenland Ice Cap. He was advisor to the reactivation of T-3, Fletcher's Ice Island, in the Arctic Ocean for the International Geophysical Year, and he was subsequently advisor to the U.S. Air Force for the examination of unprepared emergency airstrips at Polaris Promontory, Hall Land, and Bronlund's Fiord, Peary Land, North Greenland. Crowell then joined the National Science Foundation as special projects officer. He was responsible for the conversion and commissioning of the Eltanin for Antarctic oceanographic research, for the planning and construction of the research vessel Hero, and for planning an Arctic Ocean drifting research barge - a concept that has not yet come to pass. Crowell made two trips for NSF on icebreakers to the Antarctic Peninsula to select a site for Palmer Station. ... An island in Frobisher Bay, Baffin Island, a harbor in Labrador, and a mountain in Antarctica are named for Crowell ....