Bird species are abundant on Southampton Island. There are 2 bird sanctuaries on the Island, visited by many species, including the Common Eider and the Lesser Snow Geese.
Many other birds pass through the Island including Atlantic Brant, Canada Goose, Tundra Swan, Northern Pintail, King Eider, Oldsquaw, Red-throated Loon, Pacific Loon, Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Whimbrel, Red Knot, Sanderling, Herring and Sabine's Gulls, Arctic Tern, Black Guillemot, White-rumped Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Phalarope, Parasitic Jaeger and others.
Other common birds you can see near rivers or on the tundra near Coral Harbour include Ptarmigans, Snowy Owls, Sandhill Cranes, Peregrine Falcons and Gyrfalcons.
Caribou are now abundant on Southampton Island. However, it was not always the case. During the 1950's, caribou were hunted to extinction on the Island. In 1967, about 50 caribou were transferred from nearby Coats Island. The population increased dramatically, which caused concerns because of the lack of lichen to maintain and feed the herd.
A commercial caribou harvest was started in 1994 to control and sustain the population. The Southampton Island Meat Company sold most of the meat to the plant in Rankin Inlet. According to the last survey in 2009, the caribou population on the island is estimated at 15,000. Therefore, the commercial harvest was suspended after the 2009 harvest.
Caribou is also a popular game for Sport hunters because of its large antlers, great meat and warm fur.
There are many species of fish on Southampton Island.
The Arctic Char is the most popular because of the great taste. They live in fresh water during most of the year but many swim downstream to the Hudson's Bay in spring and return upriver in autumn to spawn.
The Lake Trout and White Fish are also common in freshwater lakes. Cods are primarily located in the sea and are great for consumption.
Many other species are found on Southampton Island. There are various kinds of seals: ringed, bearded and harp found on the island. The flow edge is a great area to see seals on the ice or in breathing holes nearby.
Lemmings are common and are a great source of food for predators. The Arctic Fox is seen throughout the tundra, and consists of the majority of the fox population on the Island. Their population is cyclic and severe declines often follow the decline in lemmings.
The Red Fox is also found on the island. Although most are golden-red, there are a number of color variations: silver fox , black fox and the cross fox, all belonging to the same species.
There are only a few Arctic Wolves on the island, which is another reason why the caribou are so abundant, they have no predators except hunters.
Polar Bears are incredible animals. No other animal can compete with their great abilities, awesome strength, fearsome stature and unbelievable survival skills in all weather conditions.
Coral Harbour has a healthy population of Polar Bears, and therefore gets a larger harvest quota than most communities. They are sighted throughout the seasons. Many have been known to wander close to town or near outpost camps.
Polar Bears are harvested within quota regulations. These bears are popular because of their meat, great fur and incredible challenge.
Polar Bears demand a great amount of respect and can be very dangerous. Their sight alone sends chills and excitement throughout the body.
The Walrus is another popular animal. Sport Hunters enjoy walrus because of the challenge and its great tusks.
Walrus use their tusks for hauling themselves around, for protection against bears, boats and other walrus and for moving pups around. They commonly lounge on rocks in large groups.
The tusks also provide ivory to carvers. All kinds of jewellery are made from these tusks: rings, pendants and ear rings.
Walrus are common on Walrus Island and Coats Island. Using licenced outfitters and their services, you can travel to these islands and see walrus by the hundreds basking in the sun, splashing in the shallows, or diving for shellfish. The deep roars and flashing tusks of the huge bulls inspire respect for these big marine mammals.
Beluga Whales are the most common near Coral Harbour. These beautiful white whales are believed to be primitive dolphins. Their predators are Killer Whales and humans. Their skin is a delicacy among Inuit.
Bowhead Whales are sometimes spotted in the northern tip of Southampton Island, reaching lengths of 20 m and weighing about 50 tons. Bowheads were commercially hunted by the European whalers since the 17th Century but have rapidly declined in numbers and can no longer be hunted in Canada. On occasion, Inuit have been allowed to hunt Bowhead Whales to preserve their traditions.
The Narwhal, often called the unicorn because of its long spiral tusk, is rarely spotted in the northern Hudson's Bay. Killer whales are also rare in this area and difficult to approach. They are known to drive seals, narwhal and beluga closer to shore where they can be easily killed by Inuit hunters.