Inuit insight on fear of killer whales
Discovery News, 30 January 2012

MANITOBA, CANADA: Combining scientific observations with Canadian Inuit traditional knowledge has provided new insights on how killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the Arctic eat and behave. Biologists from Manitoba visited 11 Canadian Nunavut Inuit communities and collated information from over 100 interviews with hunters and elders as part of this research. They published their results in the open access journal Aquatic Biosystems, saying that the increase in hunting territories available to killer whales in the Arctic due to climate change and melting sea ice could “seriously affect the marine ecosystem balance.” The authors conclude that by combining traditional ecological knowledge and scientific approaches, a more holistic view of killer whale predation in the eastern Canadian Arctic relevant to management and policy is provided. Continuing the long-term relationship between scientists and hunters will provide for successful knowledge integration and has resulted in considerable improvement in understanding of killer whale ecology relevant to management of prey species. Combining scientists and Inuit knowledge will assist in northerners adapting to the restructuring of the Arctic marine ecosystem associated with warming and loss of sea ice. Read the article … Read a related article on Nunatsiaq Online Read the article by Ferguson SH, Higdon JW and Westdal KH, Prey items and predation behavior of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in Nunavut, Canada based on Inuit hunter interviews, Aquatic Biosystems 2012, 8:3 (30 January 2012)