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Alces Alces - "Tuttuvak"

Population Status


Moose probably migrated to the Yukon North Slope and coastal plain within the last 100 years. Studies in the 1980s showed that few moose were permanent residents on the coastal plain. Most of those summering on the North Slope and coastal plain migrated south to winter along drainages flowing into the Porcupine and Mackenzie rivers and, for the most part, outside of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.

A survey conducted in the Richardson Mountains in March 1989 found only 7% of the moose population wintering in the northern areas of the range. During a survey of the same area in March 2000, this number had risen to 19% of all moose seen. Yukon biologists report that this could be due to differences in late winter snow conditions between the two years but it may also reflect recent and continuing colonization of the North Slope area.

Population size:

In March 2000, the Government of Yukon counted a total of 445 moose in the Richardson Mountains survey area. This number was up significantly from the 266 moose counted in the same area in March 1989. Although overall moose density in the area is low (0.48 moose/km2 in 2000), the density of moose in suitable habitats is among the highest recorded to date in the Yukon (0.73 moose/km2 in 2000).

Parks Canada conducted moose surveys in the Babbage River watershed that were timed to coincide with the moose surveys in the Richardson Mountains. Fifty-one moose were counted in the survey area that includes the Babbage River and all of its tributaries, from the coast of the Beaufort Sea to the headwaters of the Babbage River.

Population trend:

Based on the results of the March 2000 survey, the Richardson Mountains and North Slope moose population increased substantially (67%) during the 1990s. The healthy bull to mature cow ratio and relatively high calf recruitment rate observed in 2000 suggests that the population should continue to increase if adult mortality rates remain constant.

Unique or special characteristics:

  • Moose on the Yukon coastal plain have a very restricted distribution where they are typically confined to riparian shrub zones along rivers and creeks (less than 2.5% of the total area).
  • Some moose in this population can be characterized as migratory with a very clear distinction between winter and summer range (average distance between summer and winter range was 97.3 km). However, more and more, moose are appearing to winter in the coastal plain.

Habitat Features

Moose are generally are concentrated in narrow strips of willows and forest along the rivers and creeks that run down to the Arctic coast. These narrow patches of willow shrub and mixed coniferous-deciduous habitat are very limited and therefore essential to the welfare of the moose population.



Under the IFA, the Aklavik Hunters and Trappers Committee has the authority to develop bylaws that apply to the Inuvialuit harvest of specific species, should such bylaws be needed. NWT regulations must then reflect these bylaws. Bylaws may also be reflected in Ivvavik National Park regulations and Yukon wildlife regulations. There are currently no AHTC bylaws in place for moose.

Moose are becoming increasingly important to Inuvialuit as the growth in moose numbers makes them more available to harvesters. From 1988 to 1999, Inuvialuit harvest data was collected through the Inuvialuit Harvest Study. In the period from 1988 to 1997, the average annual harvest reported by Aklavik residents was nine. The Government of Yukon, in partnership with the Aklavik HTC has been collecting moose harvest data from Inuvialuit residents of Aklavik since 2001. Harvest information recorded includes species, date, location, sex and maturity of the animal. Funding and support for the collection of harvest data is supplied through the IFA and other agencies.


Regulations under the Yukon Wildlife Act, NWT Wildlife Act and National Parks Act apply in their respective jurisdictions. Yukon residents may take one male moose per year on a big game licence in select sub-zones in the northern Yukon. Many sub-zones are closed to resident hunters. Beneficiaries of adjacent claim settlements may harvest with Inuvialuit consent, on the same basis as the Inuvialuit.

Harvesting Rights
Ivvavik National Park Exclusive None Permitted
Herschel Island Territorial Park Exclusive None Permitted
East of the Babbage River Preferential With license
Adjoining NWT Exclusive None permitted


Moose are not a significant attraction to North Slope tourism as they are more common further south, but do provide high quality viewing opportunities because they are found in open habitat.


Limited habitat, destruction of habitat, and road or land development that occurs along drainages are potentially threatening.

Species at Risk Status


Research and Monitoring

Population monitoring:No programs in place.


Population and other management research are conducted by government management agencies on the advice of the WMACs and IGC. An intensive research project was conducted from 1987-1989. The study’s objectives were to determine population size, distribution, and movement patterns. Aerial surveys were conducted in the Richardson Mountains and Babbage River drainage area in 2000 to provide a current estimate of moose abundance and distribution.

Gwich'in Renewable Resource Board has conducted research on the moose populations in the Inuvik-Tsiigehtchic areas adjacent to the northern Yukon.


Management Jurisdictions
Ivvavik National Park IFA Parks Canada None Core calving area, summering
Hershel Island Territorial Park Yukon Wildlife Act YTG
East of the Babbage River National Parks Act YTG
Adjoining NWT NWT Wildlife Act GNWT

To meet conservation goals of the IFA, the co-management bodies are mandated to determine and recommend (to Yukon Government, GNWT and Parks Canada) a total allowable harvest and/ or promote research, if and when required.

There is no management plan in place for the Yukon North Slope moose population.

The Gwich'in Renewable Resource Board developed a Moose Management Plan in 2000 that covers the Gwich'in Settlement Area, to the east of the northern Yukon.

The North Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Plan includes a chapter on the management of moose in the Vuntut Gwitchin Traditional Territory which lies to the south of the Inuvialuit Settlement region in the Yukon.

Community-based Information

In 2003, the Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope) and the Aklavik Hunters and Trappers Committee undertook a project to record traditional knowledge of certain birds and animals on the Yukon North Slope. The observations, comments and concerns expressed by Aklavik residents as part of this study were as follows:

  • Moose have been on the North Slope as long as people remember but were found more in the far south in mountain valleys decades ago. Now they are regularly seen all year in tall willow areas in river valleys, all the way to the coast, but they are not abundant.
  • Moose have been seen on Herschel.
  • Delta moose are more abundant and increasing. About one in 20 cows has twin calves, and most cows seen in fall have calves. Moose numbers increased in the delta following a big forest fire.
  • Moose in the hills taste better than the moose taken in the delta. One moose hunter said that boiling removes this willow flavour. Harvesting them in the winter, and letting them sit for a few hours before skinning, also removes this flavour.
  • In the past 20 years, tall willows have been able to grow 15 km north in the Running River valley, all the way to the coast. This may be because the climate is changing.

Community-based information on this species may also be found in the reports of the annual community-based monitoring program conducted in Aklavik and neighbouring communities by the Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Co-op. following comments are taken from the Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Co-op Community Reports for Aklavik – Inuvialuit for the years indicated:.

2005 - 2006

Moose are very plentiful all over the delta. As you drive on the ice road, you are sure to see one or two.

2003 - 2004

There are a lot of moose all over the Delta, also up in the hills. More willows are growing and they seem to grow faster (For example, where the lakes dry out, there are lots of willows and grass). Some say even the trees seem to grow more in some areas. Where we used to see small trees, they are now really tall, and there are many of the trees.

2002 - 2003

Lots of moose, people see, especially when you’re flying you see lots of resting areas on the lake, it’s just all over, even on the ice road it’s like driving past the zoo, you just see moose standing there. Before they were afraid and would run away, but now they are used to all the activity and they just stand there, they are getting used to seeing people, lots of moose.

Related Literature and Information Sources

Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Co-op. 2007 Community Monitoring Report 2005 -2006.

Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Co-op. 2005 Community Monitoring Report 2003 – 2004.

Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Co-op. 2004 Community Monitoring Report 2003 – 2004.

Cooley, D. Personal Communication, Yukon Government Department of Environment.

Gwich'in Renewable Resource Board, 2000. Moose Management Plan for the Gwich'in Settlement Area, Northwest Territories. 

Hayes, R. and N. Barichello. 1986. Wolf, moose, muskoxen and grizzly bear observations on the Yukon North Slope, June 1986. Yukon Department of Environment, Whitehorse.

Jingfors, K. 1989. Wildlife of Northern Yukon National Park, Chapter 9 in: Northern Yukon National Park resource description and analysis. Natural Resource Conservation Section, Canadian Parks Service, Prairie and Northern Region, Winnipeg.

Joint Secretariat, 2003. Inuvialuit Harvest Study, Data and Methods Report 1988 – 1997. Inuvik, NT.

Parks Canada. 2003. Annual Report of Research and Monitoring in National Parks of the Western Arctic 2003.

Smits, C. 1991. Status and seasonal distribution of moose in the northern Richardson Mountains. Report No. TR-91-2. Yukon Department of Environment, Whitehorse.

Ward, R. 2007. Personal communication. Government of Yukon, Department of Environment.

Westover, S., D. Cooley, and R. Ward. 2000. 2000 North Richardson Mountains Moose Survey Results. Summary report. Yukon Department of Environment, Whitehorse.

Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope) and the Aklavik Hunters and Trappers Committee. 2003. Aklavik Inuvialuit describe the status of certain birds and animals on the Yukon North Slope, March, 2003. Final Report. Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope), Whitehorse, Yukon.

Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope) 1999. Yukon North Slope research review tables.

Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope). 2006. Research on the Yukon North Slope Funded Through the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA)


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