Prince Patrick Island, Northwest Territories
Prince Patrick Island is a large island in the western high arctic, west of Melville Island in the Northwest Territories. The IBA site covers much of the land along the eastern bays and lowlands, thus it includes the lowlands at Wooley Bay, Walker Inlet, Mould Bay, Green Bay and Intrepid Inlet. The site also includes the southern shore of nearby Eglinton Island. The tundra vegetation consists of typical tundra plants such as grasses, mosses and sedges. In places on Prince Patrick Island tundra becomes sparse and near polar desert conditions are present. Devonian bedrock is the dominant rock in the area, but Cretaceous sandstones and shales are the most common in the Intrepid Bay region. Unlike the rest of Prince Patrick Island, the southeastern sections hold escarpments, sandstone bluffs and sea cliffs.
Peary Caribou feed on the island, primarily in the summer months, while Muskox are found here year-round, especially in the Mould Bay-Intrepid Inlet area.
Prince Patrick Island is important for the significant number of Western High Arctic Brant that it contains. Previously, geese of Prince Patrick and Melville Islands were thought to contain a mixture of the two Brant subspecies, hrota and nigricans. Now it is believed that these geese are actually a separate, intermediate population, called the Western High Arctic Brant. It seems likely that more than 530 Brant, as recorded here in 1973, breed here on a regular basis. In 1974, 3,455 Brant moulted in the area, but there was very little nesting. There has been little research or survey work conducted on this Brant population, and thus the total population estimates of 7,500 and 20,000 are uncertain, but they suggest that a large percentage of Western High Arctic Brant are found in this IBA.
This site was recognized in the early 1990s as a Key Migratory Bird Terrestrial Habitat site of the Northwest Territories. Human presence is insignificant here although there is a meteorological station and associated airstrip on the eastern side of Mould Bay just outside the site. Also, some geological explorations took place in the 1970s.IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status