Canada once again proves it is the leading countries for protecting our endangered animals. The government has opened two huge ocean sanctuaries to preserve areas that are important to arctic life. But will it be enough?
The sanctuaries, covering an area of 427,000 square kilometers (165,000 square miles), will protect the icy area from mining, drilling, and fishing. While this may not stop the ice from melting, it will aid the ecosystems and could save a lot of animal lives.
Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area is the name of the larger sanctuary. Tuvaijuittuq is the Inuit name for the area in the northern coast of Ellesmere Island in Nunavut. It means “the place where the ice never melts”. It is one of the last remaining places where hot summers do not melt the sea ice.
“This remote region has the oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. As sea ice continues to decline in the Arctic, the ice in this region is expected to last the longest. This makes the area a unique and potentially important future summer habitat for ice-dependent species, including walrus, seals and polar bears,” according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “freezing any new human activities will help ensure the ice that never melts will remain true to its name.”
Saving Canada’s Wildlife
The area will help save the lives of many endangered animals. From polar bears and arctic foxes to narwhals, walruses and bird species, this protected area will be a thriving ecosystem. However, Inuit movements and hunting are still permitted as it is not excessive, as is scientific research in the area.
“This deal will turn Tuvaijuittuq into one of the world’s largest conservation areas,” said Paul Okalik. “While also supporting local food security, infrastructure and employment needs.”
“We’re trying to maintain a viable, conservation-based economy,” the senior adviser for Arctic conservation at WWF Canada continued.
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Images courtesy of Isabel Kendzior/Shutterstock, Michael Studinger/NASA/Flickr, and wildestanimal/Shutterstock.