Local Ecological Knowledge of Ivory Gull Declines in Arctic Canada





ivory gull, Pagophila eburnea, local knowledge, population decline, interviews


We gathered local ecological knowledge (LEK) on the ivory gull (Pagophila eburnea) from residents of three High Arctic communities in eastern Canada. This gull has always been uncommon, but Inuit had suggested that numbers of gulls were declining. LEK from Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay was clear and consistent, indicating that far fewer gulls are currently observed near the community compared to 25 years ago. The LEK from Arctic Bay was less consistent, although in general, community members thought that the species was less commonly observed. Observations from nonsystematic surveys by local wildlife officers corroborated the LEK data, and an aerial survey of the known colony locations on the Brodeur Peninsula (near Arctic Bay) found only one gull. Collectively, this information suggests that ivory gull populations are declining across the species' Canadian range. Systematic surveys will be needed to confirm these perceived declines.