The Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) have signed an agreement on actions to support the recovery of the Bathurst barren-ground caribou herd within the Chief Drygeese Area.
The agreement was signed today by Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Minister J. Michael Miltenberger and YKDFN Chiefs Edward Sangris (Dettah) and Ted Tsetta (Ndilo).
“This is an example of what can be accomplished by working together while respecting rights and traditional laws,” said Chief Edward Sangris.
"The next step will be to bring all parties together to develop a long term plan for this herd whose range includes Wek’eezhii and Nunavut," added Minister Miltenberger.
The YKDFN cancelled its fall hunt in September 2009 as a response to continued decline of the Bathurst caribou herd. The herd's numbers decreased to 32,000 animals from more than 128,000 in 2006 and about 350,000 in 1996.
The GNWT established a no-hunting conservation zone was created north of Yellowknife in January 2010 to protect the Bathurst herd.
The YKDFN and the GNWT agree harvest of the Bathurst herd must be reduced to allow for the recovery of the herd.
Under the Agreement signed today, the YKDFN will manage a limited harvest of the Bathurst caribou within the Chief Drygeese Area in the no-hunting zone. The First Nation will also work jointly with the GNWT to monitor all harvesting of barren-ground caribou and to develop a conservation education program to promote Akaitcho values and cultural practices related to caribou.
YKDFN will hire a coordinator to work with harvesters and ENR staff.