M'Clintock Channel (MC)

Population estimate of 284 polar bears, based on mark-recapture work completed in 2000. Population is thought to be increasing from low numbers due to over-harvest.

Status table outtake

Subpopulation size Subpopulation trend Sea ice metrics 1979-2018 Human-caused removals 2013/2014–2017/2018
Estimate and uncertainity Method and type of evidence Year and citation Long term (approx 3 generations) Short term (approx 1 generation) Change in date of spring ice retreat / fall ice advance (days per decade) Change in summer sea ice area (percent change per decade) 5-year mean
Quota (bears per year) Actual (% of total population)
Physical C-R2000Very likely increased (2000 to 2016)Very likely increased (2000 to 2016)-4.2/4.7-9.08,87.8 (2.7%)
See also the complete table (all subpopulations)

Comments, vulnerabilities and concerns

New reassessment of subpopulation began in 2014; potential for shipping activities. Population is currently managed for recovery with harvest below sustainable rates

Status and delineation

M'Clintock Channel subpopulation mapThe M'Clintock Channel area. See also the complete map (all subpopulations).

The current population boundaries for the M’Clintock Channel (MC) subpopulation are based on recovery of tagged bears, movements of adult females with satellite radio-collars in adjacent areas (Taylor and Lee 1995; Taylor et al. 2001), and genetics (Paetkau et al. 1999; Campagna et al. 2013; Peacock et al. 2015; Malenfant et al. 2016). These boundaries appear to be a consequence of large islands to the east and west, the mainland to the south, and the multiyear ice in Viscount Melville Sound to the north. An estimate of 900 bears was derived from a 6-year study in the mid-1970s within the boundaries proposed for the MC subpopulation, as part of a study conducted over a larger area of the central Arctic (Furnell and Schweinsburg 1984). Following the completion of a mark-recapture inventory in spring 2000, the subpopulation was estimated to number 284 ± 59.3 (Taylor et al. 2006b). Natural survival and recruitment rates were estimated at values lower than previous standardized estimates (Taylor et al. 1987). As a consequence of the reduced population abundance, and after an initial harvest moratorium, harvest levels for MC were drastically reduced to levels that were expected to allow the population to recover and increase. A three-year genetic mark-recapture study began in 2014.

As with habitat in Gulf of Boothia, Barber and Iacozza (2004) found no trends in ringed seal habitat or sea ice condition from 1980 to 2000 for MC. A general trend has been detected for earlier break-up and delayed freeze-up (Markus et al. 2009; Stern and Laidre 2016), but multiyear ice is predicted to persist into the near future (Howell et al. 2008; Sou and Flato 2009; Maslanik et al. 2011). Habitat quality could be improved over the short-term and multi-year ice declines.



Reference list