In more than 30 years of setting whale nets, Moses Nakoolak has never seen anything like it.
On Oct. 1, he and his son pulled up one of their nets about six kilometres from the community and a large unusual creature was trapped in it.
“I was thinking maybe it’s a walrus because it’s way too heavy,” Nakoolak said. “We pulled it up to the shore and my son Moses Jr., he recognized it right away. ‘It’s a Greenland shark! It’s a Greenland shark!'”
The specimen measures 3.1 metres (10 feet, three inches) and weighs close to 227 kg (about 500 pounds), Nakoolak said.
“We’ve never seen a Greenland shark in anyone’s nets here in Coral Harbour. This is the very first time we seen that caught in the whale nets,” he said, adding that narwhal and beluga are what he normally catches.
He and his son put the shark on a kamotiq and brought it back to Nakoolak’s home. Before they got there, some curious community members were following them to get a glimpse of the oddity. Since then, many, many people have stopped by to take a look and snap photos.
Jeffrey Ottokie had to get an up close look for himself.
“Jeez, that thing is not the smoothest. It’s really rough skin… if it was alive I’d never touch it,” Ottokie said. “It’s the first time we’ve seen a whole Greenland shark like that… It’s quite amazing to see that.”
Nakoolak said he’s heard Greenlandic people boil the shark meat and eat it. Others have said it’s generally used as dog food.
“I have no clue at all what I’m going to do with it,” he said, laughing.
– Derek Neary
Mother polar bear and four cubs spotted
A mother polar bear loitered with her four cubs by the Arctic Bay shoreline last week, before being scared off by wildlife officers.
Josia Akpaliapik spotted the bears while driving his wife to work.
Though Akpaliapik has seen three cubs before, spotting four cubs is a first, he said.
Typically a bear will have a litter of two. Litters of three and four are possible, though uncommon.
According to elders, sometimes a polar bear will adopt another cub from another bear.
Wildlife officers tried to use boats to deter the bears, which were in close proximity to four or five dog teams near the airport.
“One of the cubs was kind of scary. Sometimes she would go to the dogs but never harm them.
The owner untied a few dogs,” he said.
By nightfall, the bears were gone, he said.
– Avery Zingel
Mould problem addressed; arena due to reopen this month
After a year without the use of the community arena, residents in Cambridge Bay will soon have access to the facility again.
The contractor’s work to remove and cover up a growing mould problem should be finished by Oct. 19, according to Tim Brown, director of community infrastructure with the Department of Community and Government Services.
“The scope of work is being completed as originally planned. However, after removal of damaged material in some areas, additional mould-infested material was discovered, which will be required to be removed and replaced,” Brown stated.
Cambridge Bay’s Qillaq Construction was hired in early August to undertake the work for $257,000, but the final cost won’t be known until the project is completed, Brown added.
– Derek Neary
De Beers CEO visits Pangnirtung following Chidliak purchase
Just two weeks after closing a deal to purchase the Chidliak project from Peregrine Diamonds,
De Beers representatives flew to Iqaluit.
CEO Kim Truter said he met with Premier Joe Savikataaq and also travelled to Pangnirtung.
“This trip was exploratory, as we ask people how they want to communicate,” said Truter.
Quarterly face-to-face interactions will continue so that communities can stay informed about De Beers’ intentions for the project, which sits between the two communities.
The $107-million deal to acquire the Chidliak project from Peregrine Diamonds concluded Sept. 12.
De Beers representatives will come to the North for engagement and permitting purposes every quarter, said Truter.
Asked how the community will be engaged following the change of hands, he said De Beers has hired employees from Peregrine to ensure continuity.
The mining company is still in the process of determining who it will work with as stakeholders in the project.
As for any future development, Truter hopes the project will make use of technology and innovation to have a smaller environmental footprint.
– Avery Zingel
Major food donation
Arctic Fresh, an Iglulik-based online grocery retailer serving Baffin communities, provided close to $10,000 worth of groceries to the Igloolik Food Bank prior to the Thanksgiving weekend.
Rhoda Angutimarik, the company’s CEO, grew up often going hungry “because fresh and nutritious foods were not available or were too expensive,” stated an Arctic Fresh news release. She launched the Inuit-owned business to reduce the high cost of groceries and to help ensure others have access to healthy foods, according to the news release.
The recent food donation was possible with help from Canadian North, which lowered its freight costs for the delivery.
Greg Morash, the community’s senior administrative officer, expressed gratitude for the gesture.
“Food insecurity is a major issue in Northern communities and families rely on food banks for assistance,” Morash stated. “This year, Thanksgiving week will be better for most because of the generous donation of nutritious and fresh food sent to Iglulik from Arctic Fresh… When a community comes together, great things can happen.”
– Derek Neary