ArcticNet - ArcticNet Research

Phase 4 (2015-2018)

Monitoring and Managing Muskox Health for Food Security and Ecosystem and Socio-Economic Resilience: Integrating Traditional, Local, and Scientific Knowledge

Project Leader(s)

Kutz, Susan

Muskoxen are integral to the culture, food system, economy, and ecosystem health in the Arctic, but recent widespread mortalities of muskoxen on Victoria and Banks Islands, with concomitant population declines, have raised concerns about muskox health and sustainability as well as the food safety and security for local people. This project aims to (i) determine the current health status of muskoxen in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and Kitikmeot, (ii) evaluate factors which influence health, including disease, contaminants, climate, disturbance, and stress, (iii) investigate the ecology of three emerging muskox diseases using scientific, Traditional, and Local Expert Knowledge, (iv) develop indicators of health that can be incorporated into muskox monitoring programs, and (v) establish and implement an integrative and responsive muskox health surveillance system that can pro-actively inform wildlife management, public health, and land-use policy. Ultimately, a combination of scientific, traditional and local knowledge and engagement will be used to evaluate and monitor the health and vulnerability of muskoxen in a rapidly changing Arctic. Tools, techniques, and programs developed, together with extensive training of both northerners and southerners, will lead to improved technical and human resources for wildlife health monitoring and enhancement of food security across the North. Contributes to IRIS: 1