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The Last Ice Area

At Sea: March to April 2015 and June 2015
Country: Canada and Greenland

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The Place

Climate projections forecast the total disappearance of summer sea ice in the Arctic by 2040, with the exception of one place—the Last Ice Area. This region, located north of Greenland and Ellesmere Island in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, will likely harbor the largest concentration of Arctic wildlife dependent on the sea-ice edge for survival, including bowhead whales, seals, narwhals, and polar bears.

As the sea ice declines, industrial activities such as fishing, shipping, mining, and drilling are expected to expand northward. These emerging threats will affect not only the area’s wildlife but also its Inuit communities, which have traditionally relied on these animals for food, dress, shelter, and energy.

The Mission

To raise awareness of these dramatic changes in the high Arctic, Pristine Seas and the World Wildlife Fund-Canada worked closely with Inuit communities to document their stories and traditions. The team aims to record the ways in which Inuit culture is connected to the extraordinary local wildlife and evaluate how the disappearance of ice will impact these populations and their relationships with one another.

Pristine Seas conducted two primary expeditions to the region in 2015, filming Arctic wildlife and the traditional way of life of the Inuit and recording local stories and views on the ongoing environmental changes. The first of these expeditions focused on Qaanaaq, one of the most traditional Inuit villages in Greenland. The project's second expedition took place at Canada’s Baffin Island.

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