Polar Bears in Northwest Greenland

An Interview Survey about the Catch and the Climate

Erik W. Born, Anna Heilmann, Lene Kielsen, and Kristin L. Laidre

Erik W. Born, Anna Heilmann, Lene Kielsen, and Kristin L. Laidre

Distributed for Museum Tusculanum Press

232 pages | © 2011
Cloth $52.00 ISBN: 9788763531689 Published December 2011 Not for sale in the United Kingdom or Europe
This volume presents the results of an interview survey on the catch of polar bears in Northwest Greenland between 1952 and 2005. The results are based on detailed descriptions of 588 subsistence catches by Inuit polar bear hunters. The rationale for this study was the indication from hunting statistics suggesting that the catch of polar bears in Northwest Greenland had increased since the early 1990s. This change occurred simultaneously with marked changes in weather conditions and sea ice cover in Northwest Greenland. The information provided by seventy-two experienced polar bear hunters living in the Qaanaaq and Upernavik areas offers a detailed and unique account of polar bear catch, polar bear biology, climate change, and the effect of these changes on both the species and the subsistence hunt.
Contents

Acknowledgements
Abstract
Introduction

Materials, methods and background
    Preparation and selection of informants
    Travel activity
    The form and content of the interviews
    Analysis of the data
    Hunting areas
    Time periods
    Terminology and statistical analyses
    Background
       Physical factors
       Hunting regulations and other factors that limit the hunt
       Changes to the temperature and the sea ice cover
Results
The interviewees
    The Qaanaaq municipality
    The Upernavik municipality
Responses to the questions
    The Qaanaaq municipality
       Hunting and travelling conditions
       Occurrence of polar bears and dens
       Climate change
       Changes to the catch and occurrence of polar bears
       The biology and behaviour of the bears
    The Upernavik municipality
    Area 3 (Kullorsuaq and Nuussuaq)
       Hunting and travelling conditions
       Occurrence of polar bears and dens
       Climate change
       Changes to the catch and occurrence of polar bears
       The biology and behaviour of polar bears
    Area 4 (The area from the south of Nuussuaq to Upernavik town)
       Hunting and travelling conditions
       Occurrence of polar bears and dens
       Climate change
       Changes to the catch and occurrence of polar bears
       The biology and behaviour of polar bears
The catch in figures
    Qaanaaq municipality
    Upernavik municipality
Discussion
The interview survey as a method
Changes to the physical environment
Climate change and polar bears
    Changes in distribution of polar bears
    Changes in physical condition of polar bears
    Changes in diet of polar bears
The catch in figures
    Seasonal distribution of the catch
    Changes in hunting methods
    Geographic distribution
    Age and sex distribution
    Dens and “newborn” cubs
Overall conclusion

References
Appendix

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