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Banks Island No.1 Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Banks Island No.1 Migratory Bird Sanctuary is on the south west side of Banks Island. Banks Island is the fourth largest and the most western Canadian Arctic island. The sanctuary is 19,997 km2and is adjacent to Sachs Harbour. It was established in 1961 because it is an ideal area for migratory birds to rest. The area is composed of tidal mudflats and open water, river deltas where the rivers meet the Beaufort Sea, wetland meadows and dryas barrens. While most of the area is polar desert, there is an area of lush plant growth. The area contains the Big River and the Egg River, where 450,000 lesser snow geese nest which is 95% of the western Arctic population. The sanctuary also provides habitat to 3,000 black brant from as far south as Mexico, 25,000 king eiders, several thousand long-tailed ducks, tundra swans, ross’s geese, and sandhill cranes. It is also home to Arctic foxes and muskox, as well as polar bears, peary caribou and peregrine falcons which are listed as species at risk. The sanctuary is managed by the Canadian Wildlife Service and a permit is required for public access. The Inuvialuit people have access for subsistence harvest.