Project: Cost Effectiveness Analysis of Alternative Polar Bear Tracking Methods

Tracking and collecting data on polar bears is vital. Polar bear monitoring data inform policies on polar bear conservation and harvesting limits and contributes to assessing the extent of climate change and the associated environmental impacts on polar bears. However, the status-quo method of tracking polar bear populations involves an expensive and invasive procedure. The current method involves visually tracking bears from a helicopter, shooting tranquillizer darts at them, and collecting samples from the sedated animals. 

Pilot studies suggest that compared to the status-quo method, alternative non-invasive methods of tracking polar bears can come at a lower cost and, potentially, generate more insights. Moreover, Inuit-inclusive polar bear tracking approaches that leverage traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of Inuit Elders and hunters might help restore some of the lost connections between Inuit and polar bears, generate a new source of employment and income, and align conservation efforts with the well-being of Inuit people.

Limestone Analytics is working with researchers at Queen’s University to conduct a Cost-Effectiveness Analysis (CEA) of alternative polar bear monitoring methods, which involve collecting genetic information from bear fur, scat, or paw-prints. The CEA will consider the technical, financial, social, cultural, ethical, and overall economic dimensions of each approach. The study aims to assess the feasibility of an Inuit-inclusive, non-invasive polar bear monitoring program. The results can also inform the scientific community and the different stakeholder groups (i.e., the Government of Nunavut and the Government of Canada) involved in the conservation of polar bears. The results of the study are to be presented at an international polar bear seminar to be held in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, late in 2022.

Clients / Partners




Cost-Effectiveness Analysis


Conference Presentation