Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
U.S.-Canada International Porcupine Caribou Board Bulletin
International Porcupine Caribou Board Meets in Kaktovik, Alaska

October 4, 2018

Contact(s):

United States contact: interior_press@ios.doi.gov

Canada contact: Media Relations, 1-844-836-7799, ec.media.ec@canada.ca



ALASKA - The International Porcupine Caribou Board (Board) held its annual meeting in the United States on September 26 and 27. The Board met in executive session on the first day in Fairbanks, Alaska, and then traveled to Kaktovik, Alaska, to convene its official meeting and hold special events with local community members and Inupiat elders. The Board shared with the community the latest scientific findings on the status of the Porcupine Caribou Herd and received comments and questions from village residents and officials regarding the importance of conserving the herd. Attendees in Kaktovik expressed their appreciation for the Board’s visit and its cooperation on this shared international resource. Board members agreed that it was important to meet in communities that rely on the herd for subsistence and pledged to ensure its sustainability.

During the official meeting, the Board reconstituted the IPCB’s technical committee, giving caribou biology subject matter experts—both Western Science and Traditional Knowledge backgrounds—a forum to exchange information on the health of the herd.

“The Government of Canada is strongly committed to the conservation of the Porcupine Caribou Herd and is strongly committed to supporting the International Board in its role in providing advice to the Parties of our Agreement”, says IPCB co-chair Craig Machtans. “Canada wishes to thank the US government and the community of Kaktovik for their warm welcome and hospitality.”

“The United States is committed to working with our Canadian, First Nation, and First Alaskan partners to ensure the long-term sustainability of the herd,” said IPCB co-chair, Steve Wackowski. “I want to thank the Canadian delegation for agreeing to convene in Kaktovik, so the Board could see and interact with residents of the Coastal Plain.”

The Porcupine Caribou Herd is one of the largest herds of migratory caribou in North America, last estimated in 2017 to consist of about 218,000 caribou. It roams over approximately 250,000 km2 or 96,526 mi2 of Northern Alaska, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. Caribou are a critical subsistence resource for the Gwich’in and Inupiat people, whose traditional use areas span the herd’s range. In addition, caribou are an important traditional resource for other native peoples, including the Inuvialuit, Hän, andNorthern Tutchone.

The objectives of the Board are to conserve the Porcupine Caribou Herd and its habitat through international cooperation and coordination, to ensure opportunities for customary and traditional uses, to enable users of Porcupine Caribou to participate in the international coordination of the conservation of the Porcupine Caribou Herd and to encourage cooperation and communication among governments, users of Porcupine Caribou, and others to achieve these objectives.

The Board will meet next by teleconference/videoconference in November, 2018.


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