1) To determine tissue residue levels of organochlorines and metals in arctic fox feeding in or near an arctic coastal environment. 2) To assess whether or not residue levels found in arctic fox pose a potential wildlife health risk. 3) As part of a pilot project, to determine residue levels and assess potential wildlife health risk to wolverines feeding in or near a coastal environment.
Livers and kidneys of arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) and wolverine (Gulo gulo) will be analyzed for PCBs including coplanar PCBs, organochlorines, mercury selenium, silver and cadmium. Age, sex and pathological information will also be collected.
Holman Island (arctic fox) Baker Lake (arctic fox) Arviat (arctic fox) Coppermine (wolverine)
Samples are archived in the National Wildlife Specimen Bank at the National Wildlife Research Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, for an indeterminate period of time. Sample homogenates are stored in both glass and polypropylene vials at -40°C.
All samples are handled according to Canadian Wildlife Service protocols. These are available upon request. Metal analyses (ICP-MS, Hg, Cd) will be carried out at Philip Laboratories, NS. QA/QC for metal results will be handled by NWRC. PCB (ortho-substituted) and organochlorine pesticides (including total toxaphene and congeners) analyses will be carried out at NWRI (NLET) laboratories in Burlington, Ontario. Coplanar PCBs will be determined by the lab of M. LeBeuf (DFO, Mont Joli) on extracts prepared by NWRI. Stable C and N isotope analyses will be carried out by NWRI Saskatoon (Len Wassaaner) at the Department of Soil Science, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK. Sulfur 34 isotope ratios will be determined at the Department of Earth Science, University of Waterloo.
Both NWRC and NWRI laboratories have participated in the Northern Contaminants (NCP) QA/QC Program. The NWRI/NLET has also recently participated in the QUASIMEME international interlab study on PCBs and toxaphene in biological samples and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) interlab study on PCBs in marine mammal blubber. The NWRC laboratory has also participated in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's interlaboratory program on mercury in fish.
GNWT Wildlife & Fisheries Division Nunavut Dept. Sustainable Development Dept. of Soil Science, University of Saskatchewan Dept. of Earth Science, University of Waterloo
Canadian Northern Contaminants Program
Both the foxes and wolverines are being obtained from community hunters. Hunters are also being asked of their knowledge of fox diet in their area.