The team at WWF-Canada was extremely saddened to learn of the helicopter crash near Resolute Bay in Nunavut, which took the lives of three people — a wildlife biologist and two flight crew — on Sunday. We want to express our deep condolences to all the victims’ families, friends and colleagues during this incredibly difficult time.
The crash, which occurred as part of a trip to survey the Lancaster Sound polar bear population in Tallurutiup Imanga, is a devastating loss for the close-knit Arctic research community. One of the victims, Markus Dyck, who worked for the Nunavut government for 10 years as the Department of Environment’s senior polar bear biologist, was one of the foremost polar bear experts in the country.
Over the years, his research monitoring polar bears in Nunavut was supported in part by WWF-Canada’s Arctic Species Conservation Fund. Markus was a longtime WWF collaborator, a friend to many on our staff and we considered him an extended part of our WWF-Canada family.
“I always admired his calm, cool and collected approach to the sometimes-charged issue of polar bear conservation. When Markus spoke, everyone listened, and I can recall many meetings where he was the voice of reason,” recalled Brandon Laforest, WWF-Canada’s senior specialist, Arctic species and ecosystems.
“An incredibly dedicated researcher, Markus’ contributions to polar bear management in Nunavut, and Canada as a whole, have been immense, and we all owe him a true debt of gratitude. We will miss him dearly.”