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Department of Interior Partners in Conservation Award


Bowhead Whale Tracking Project

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game was recently a recipient of an award celebrating unprecedented international collaboration among government and Native organizations to combine traditional hunting knowledge and practices with state of the art technology for advancing science.

Success of the project was largely due to the knowledge, expertise, and efforts of Native hunters.  The project, Satellite Tracking of Western Arctic Bowhead Whales, demonstrates how scientists and Native hunters working together can make major contributions to the development of conservation and management strategies of endangered marine mammals associated with resource development.

“This project is a success to be celebrated.  It is but one example of the importance of using local and traditional knowledge to better understand and manage our resources in Alaska” said Commissioner Denby Lloyd.

The project’s results have yielded a new level of insight into the movements and habitat use of the endangered bowhead whale in particular, and advanced marine mammal science in general.

The Award was signed by Secretary Salazar and presented by the U.S. Department of the Interior to all of the primary collaborators:

o Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission

o North Slope Borough

o Alaska Department of Fish & Game

o Department of Fisheries and Oceans – Canada

o Greenland Institute of Natural Resources

o Aklavik Hunters and Trappers Committee – Northwest Territories, Canada

o Tuktoyaktuk Hunters and Trappers Committee – Northwest Territories, Canada

Individuals within these agencies involved with the project were also presented with the award, including Lori Quakenbush, John Citta, and Robert Small of ADF&G’s Statewide Marine Mammal Program.

Funding for this project was provided by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, and by Canada’s Fisheries Joint Management Committee, Panel for Research and Development, and Department of Fisheries and Oceans and their Ecosystem Research Initiative.  For more information visit: http://wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=marinemammals.bowhead
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