Research and data in the NWT

Wildlife Management Information System

The Wildlife Management Information System (WMIS) is the Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) online, geo-referenced wildlife database. WMIS provides a central repository for government staff, industry, researchers and public to store and access standardized wildlife observation data to support the conservation and management of wild species and their habitat in the Northwest Territories (NWT).

Use of data

WMIS stores observation data on the location and number of wildlife species and their habitats in the NWT. WMIS is supported by the Wildlife Division, Department of Environment and Climate Change (ECC). By requesting access to, and using WMIS data, you agree to comply with the terms and conditions set out in the agreement governing the use of WMIS information.

Wildlife research and monitoring projects are always underway. New data is being added regularly to WMIS. Historical data is regularly consolidated and/or digitized  and added to WMIS.

Refer to the list of projects in WMIS to review available data.

About the data

Wildlife research or monitoring programs typically target specific species for a specific purpose.

Incidental observations of other species are often recorded while conducting these programs. For example, a biologist working on a caribou survey may record wolves, wolverines, raptors and/or muskox seen during the survey.

Random wildlife observations are also reported to local ECC offices by the public.

Comprehensive surveys for the absence or presence of all wildlife species in an area are not routinely conducted. This means comprehensive survey data on wildlife in a particular area is not necessarily available.

A data search of WMIS is not intended as a final statement on the presence, absence or status of species within a given area. Information available through WMIS was either obtained for a specific purpose or was obtained as an incidental or random observation. 

Requesting data

WMIS data requests can be made sending an email to the WMIS Team. The request will be reviewed. If the request is approved, you will be required to sign a Data Release Agreement.

Your email to the WMIS Team should include:

  • A full description of the information you are requesting, including species, time period, geographic area and specific project, if applicable. Sample request: Data is requested on the numbers of barrenground caribou observed during surveys of the Cape Bathurst, Bathurst and Ahiak herds in 2006 and 2007.
  • A description of the intended use of the data including why you require it, how it will be used and who the end users are.

Data requests are reviewed by GWNT biologists to make sure available WMIS data is suitable for the purposes requested and that the GNWT has the authority to share it. Requests for data can be denied if the data does not suit the purpose outlined in the request or the GNWT does not have the authority to share it. In these cases, the GNWT may direct you to the data custodian. Sensitive data may be excluded, masked or buffered.

WMIS supports the conservation of wildlife. The GNWT may refuse to disclose information, which could reasonably be expected to result in damage or interfere with the conservation of any rare, threatened or vulnerable form of life, as outlined in the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

WMIS data will be provided for a single use only and for a described purpose.

WMIS data must be destroyed by the user once the agreement expires or when the project is completed. All requests to renew or extend the agreement must be sent to WMIS Team.

Measures are taken to protect the locations of particularly sensitive species to ensure conservation of wildlife, their habitat and stakeholders.

Source credits, acknowledging original collectors of the data, are provided with any data distributed from WMIS. All end users must cite these credits as outlined in the WMIS Database Sharing Agreement.

Providing wildlife observations to WMIS

The NWT is a vast and sparsely populated landscape. Researchers and naturalists are encouraged to record wildlife, plant or insect observations and submit those observations to WMIS. This collection of data is an important contribution to the knowledge base for wildlife management, ecological biodiversity and conservation.

Observations may include:

  • Wildlife or rare plant sightings
  • Animal sign, such as tracks
  • Interactions with wildlife
  • Nests, dens, lodges, or other wildlife habitat

Recording observations

When recording observations it can be as easy as noting:

  • Location, ideally by GPS
  • Date
  • Species
  • Number of animals, plants or insects

If you are unsure of the exact species name, a photo can be submitted for expert identification.

For larger amounts of data, excel loadforms can be provided to you.

Contact to discuss the best way to submit your data.

Should you choose to share your data as part of WMIS, please indicate if this data can be made available to others or if you are only providing it for use by the GNWT and would like to be contacted directly by users requesting data.