Wildlife and plants

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Fauna

Muskox

Ovibos moschatus | Umimmak

Weight

180 - 410 kg

Height

1,1 - 1,5 m

Length

1.35 - 2.50 m

The wool of the muskox is extremely soft and warm, and is therefore treasured by many when winter brings the cold. The meat is also a delicacy.

Caribou / Reindeer

Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus | Tuttu

Weight

70-160 kg

Height

~ 1.2 m

Length

1.5 - 2.3 m

They are hunted for food in the inland, especially around our key site Aasivissuit where Inuit would make summer camps.

Harp seal

Pagophilus groenlandicus | Aataaq

Weight

115 – 140 kg

Length

1.7 - 2.0 m

Seals have been essential for the making of warm clothes and as food. The harp seal skin used to be made into tents due to its huge size and would be held up by driftwood and antlers.

Ringed Seal

Pusa hispida | Natseq

Weight

50 - 110 kg

Length

1.10 - 1.45 m

Seals are to this day cooked as hearty meals enjoyed by many. It’s either boiled as ribs and meat chunks in a pot with onions, potatoes and porridge rice to be served as a soup, or it can be roasted in an oven as well as a pan.

Fin Whale

Balaenoptera physalus | Tikaagulliusaaq

Weight

45 - 75 tons

Length

19 - 25 m

Whales are a valuable source of food as one whale can feed a small settlement throughout a tough winter. The meat and skin is boiled or pan-fried in small pieces. The skin is also enjoyed raw with the mixed spice Aromat.

Humpback Whale

Megaptera novaeangliae | Qipoqqaq

Weight

25 - 30 tons

Length

12 - 15 m

There is centuries long traditions and business with whale hunting in this area, and even though whales have diminished in numbers there is a quota for local fishers to go hunting in a group of boats - like they’ve always done.

Rock Ptarmigan

Lagopus muta | Aqisseq

Weight

0.4 - 0.5 kg

Length

0.35 m

The Rock ptarmigan is a delicacy as both the eggs and the adult birds are a welcome alternative foodsource apart from the sea and land animals.

White-tailed Sea Eagle

Haliaeetus albicilla | Nattoralik

Weight

3 - 6 kg

Length

2 - 2.45 m

The female is larger than the male, and the eagle is a rare but beautiful sight to see in nature.

Greater White-fronted Goose

Anser albifrons flavirostris | Nerleq

Weight

2 - 2.5 kg

Length

1.30 - 1.65 m

The geese were in the past a delicious alternative food source but is today protected by law as an endangered species in Greenland. The greater white-fronted geese breed in the inland of Aasivissuit – Nipisat.

Thick-billed Murre

Uria Lomvia | Appa

Weight

0.9 - 1.1 kg

Wingspan

0.64 - 0.75 m

Length

0.4 - 0.44 m

A bird population in decline but still enjoyed as a meal by boiling or cooking it in the oven with a honey glaze. They breed on cliffs and only have one egg at a time.

Mallard

Anas platyrhynchos | Qeerlutooq

Weight

0.7 - 1.6 kg

Wingspan

0.8 - 1.0 m

Length

0.5 - 0.65 m

A very common duck to be spotted in towns and in the landscape during the warm period. Refrain from feeding them as it can negatively impact their health.

Gyrfalcon

Falco rusticolus | Kissaviarsuk

Weight

1.1 - 2.1 kg

Wingspan

1.0 - 1.3 m

Length

0.53 - 0.63 m

A hunting falcon that preys on smaller birds but also sea birds and hares. The plumage varies from almost white over grey to dark depending on the region they inhabit. The gyrfalcon in this area are mostly grey.

Common Raven

Corvus corax | Tulugaq

Weight

0.7 - 1.6 kg

Wingspan

1.1 - 1.5 m

Length

0.54 - 0.69 m

The raven shows up in a lot of legends and tales as a helping or avenging spirit. If you observe a flock of ravens circling, they have probably seen food or soon-to-be-food.

Arctic Fox

Vulpes Lagopus | Terianniaq

Weight

2.9 - 3.5 kg

Height

0.25 - 0.30 m

Length

0.41 - 0.68 m

The beautiful Arctic Fox is hunted for its fur and is kept off the dinnertable. Caution should be enacted when met in wild as there are cases of rabies.

Arctic Hare

Lepus arcticus | Ukaleq qaqortoq

Weight

3 - 5 kg

Length

0.48 - 0.60 m

The cute furball has been historically used for luxurious decorations on clothing. It’s rarely eaten as it has very little meat on it, and the fur is very small so it’s impractical to make complete clothing pieces that keep you warm.

Arctic Charr

Salvelinus alpinus | Eqaluk

Weight

1 - 2 kg

Length

0.4 - 0.6 m

It’s a rare delicacy in Greenland that is enjoyed grilled or boiled after having been caught in fjords or rivers. Our key site Itinneq is famous for the abundance of char during summer.

Atlantic Cod

Gadus morhua | Saarullik

Weight

< 20 kg

Length

< 1.35 m

The cod has a rich history in Greenland, for millennia the population has greatly varied. Not only is it tasty to boil and eat off the cliffs but the bones have been used as needles and other crafting tools.

Spotted Sea Cat

Anarhichas minor | Qeeraq Milattooq

Weight

< 27 kg

Length

1.0 - 1.8 m

An ugly fish enjoyed as a boiled dish with potatoes or rice. It has tender white meat and a generous amount of healthy fat and oils.

Lumpfish

Cyclopterus lumpus | Nipisa

Weight

< 4.5 kg

Length

0.3 - 0.5 m

The lumpfish has been so important in this area that an island on the coast is named Nipisat, which is plural for lumpfish in Greenlandic. It’s mainly caught for its roe that is enjoyed as a delicacy.

Mosquito

Culicidae | Ippernaq

Size

< 16mm

The little buggers are a nuisance during summer and have no nutritional value. Luckily, so far there is no evidence they carry any life-threatening illnesses.

Flora

Crowberry

Empetrum nigrum | Paarnaqutit

Height

3 - 20 cm

Leaves

Crowded 4-6 mm long needle-shaped leaves with a light furrow below

Edible black berries commonly foraged by locals as a bittersweet snack or ingredient in the sweet kitchen. They are the sweetest after having experienced the first icy night in September.

Bog Blueberry

Vaccinium uliginosum | Kigutaarnaq

Height

10 - 20 cm

Leaves

Blue-green oval, 4-30 mm long and 2-15 mm wide

Are quite rare compared to crowberries. The blueberries are small but can be enjoyed raw or be included in cooking and baked goods.

Angelica

Angelica archangelica | Kuanneq

Height

100 - 200 cm

Leaves

Numerous small leaflets with finely toothed or serrated edges

The stems can be eaten raw or dipped in sugar and the leaves can be dried and used as seasoning. It can be compared to a sweeter version of a celery plant.

Narrow-leaved Labrador-tea

Ledum palustre | Qajaasaq

Height

10 - 50 cm

Leaves

Hairless above and rusty haired below. 10-25 white flowers in an umbel

Both the leaves and flowers can be used to make tea. The leaves are evergreen fragrant and are crowded while appearing linear with down-rolled edges.

Lyme Grass

Ivigarsuaq | Leymus arenarius

Height

90 - 120 cm

Leaves

Flat and steel-blue, 3-15 mm broad and gracefully arching

Tall grass that can be found in sandy areas previously used as a midden by a relocated settlement.

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Main keyside Aasivissuit from above. Aasivissuit - Nipisat World Heritage is a huge hunting area.

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