FEATURE INTERVIEW: Inuit community worried about muskox deaths in Canadian Arctic

Last year the Erysipelas bacteria killed more than 100 muskox on Banks Island in the Arctic Ocean.  (Peter Klaunzer/Associated Press)
Last year the Erysipelas bacteria killed more than 100 muskox on Banks Island in the Arctic Ocean.
(Peter Klaunzer/Associated Press)
Several muskox were recently found dead on Banks Island in the Arctic region of Canada’s Northwest Territories.

But some are worried that a bacterial disease that killed about 100 muskox last year may be responsible.

Government scientists have gathered samples and are waiting for the results.

The animal deaths are a particular concern for residents of Sachs Harbour, a predominantly Inuit community located in the southwest region of Banks Island.

With a population of primarily subsistence hunters, residents rely on muskox for food.

“To supplement our meat intake we enjoy eating muskox meat,” said Joey Carpenter, a member of the Sachs Harbour Hunters and Trappers Committee. “Obviously people are concerned about the quality of the meat and the possibility of contracting some transferable sickness that’s killing the muskox.”

To find out more, I reached Joey Carpenter at his home in Sachs Harbour.

To listen to our conversation, click here

Related Links:

Disease outbreak in Banks Island muskox – CBC News, July 28, 2012

Muskox in the N.W.T., Government of Nunavut

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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