Wildlife Species in the Gwich’in Settlement Area

‘Wildlife’ in the Gwich’in Settlement Area (GSA) includes all mammals and birds that utilize the area for all or part of the year. Harvested species receive more attention, as Gwich’in residents rely on them for subsistence. The GRRB is responsible for the long-term conservation of all wildlife species in the GSA and works closely with other co-management partners.

Because their culture and subsistence largely depend on the vadzaih (caribou), the Gwich’in are known as “People of the Caribou”, although they harvest many different wildlife species. To help the GRRB make informed decisions on wildlife management, it relies on local and traditional knowledge, community input and participation and research project results. The GRRB collaborates with Gwich’in communities, governments and other related interested parties to develop research and management plans. Wildlife plans must ultimately conserve species and protect Gwich’in subsistence and cultural needs.

The GSA is gifted with a variety of landscapes and habitat that are home to an outstanding diversity of mammals, birds and fish, but also amphibians, reptiles, mussels, insects and plants. Our books Gwich’in Words About the Land and More Gwich’in Words About the Land provide valuable information on species most important to the Gwich’in (see our Traditional Knowledge section for more information).

For a complete list of species in the Northwest Territories and in the Gwich’in Settlement Area, you can visit the NWT Biodiversity webpage.

The Wildlife Biologist

The Wildlife Biologist is on the forefront of wildlife management and research in the Gwich’in Settlement Area (GSA). The four duties of the Wildlife Biologist are Management Planning, Research, Technical Advice and Liaison.

The Wildlife Biologist administers wildlife management programs and research projects as related to the GRRB mandate and as directed by the Research and Management Priorities and Interests in the GSA. They provide technical advice to the Board and liaise with Renewable Resource Councils, government agencies, co-management partners and the public. This role also increases awareness of wildlife management and research issues in the GSA through information dissemination and consultation.