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Polar bear wildlife viewing in Eeyou Istchee: An assessment of different perspectives and considerations


Polar bear wildlife viewing in Eeyou Istchee: An assessment of different perspectives and considerations

Hossein, Tariq (2017) Polar bear wildlife viewing in Eeyou Istchee: An assessment of different perspectives and considerations. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Wildlife tourism has been proposed as an alternative economic development opportunity for Indigenous communities in the Canadian north. Potential benefits include the employment of community members in land-based activities that enhance cultural identity, contribute to social well-being, support inter-generational knowledge transmission, and promote cross-cultural exchange. The extent to which wildlife tourism delivers on its promise is not well documented and tends to privilege the perspective of external experts over those of community members. Furthermore, a fuller appreciation of community expectations, concerns, and (mis)understandings is often lacking at the outset of a project with implications for its long-term success and acceptance. This thesis examines a polar bear viewing project proposed for the James Bay Cree community of Wemindji. It responds to an invitation from the Wemindji leadership to contribute information on the proposal by addressing two different aspects of the project. Firstly, it avails of geospatial technology to provide a preliminary population survey of the polar bears that can inform an assessment of the economic viability and likely wildlife impact of the project. Secondly, it uses semi-structured interviews with community members to document local perspectives on the project, including local assessments of potential benefits but also local concerns. The results of the population survey show that while geospatial technologies can provide a useful snapshot of polar bear population numbers and location, there are limitations to the accuracy and viability of these methods. The results of the community consultation affirm the value of local insights and the need to take full account of local perspectives before proceeding with a final decision on whether this project should proceed.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Geography, Planning and Environment
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Hossein, Tariq
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Program:Geography, Urban & Environmental Studies
Date:17 April 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Mulrennan, Monica
Keywords:Community Based Tourism (CBT), polar bear, Wemindji, James Bay, Geospatial Technology, UAV, drone
ID Code:982457
Deposited On:09 Jun 2017 15:21
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:55


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