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Nuu-chah-nulth territory on Vancouver Island plagued by elk poaching


Compiled by Debora Steel







Nuu-chah-nulth territory on the west coast of Vancouver Island is being plagued by elk poaching so the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and its 14 member nations, with some help from the BC Guide Outfitters Association and local business, have committed a $31,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the illegal elk kills. It is one of the largest conservation rewards in Canadian history. The Roosevelt Elk population had just begun to rebound after many years of protection, including transplanting elk to replenish the herds. Many of the tribes had been waiting for this rebound to allow for a limited elk harvest. But the illegal kills put the herds back in danger. Worse for the Nation communities was the fact that much of the meat was left on the ground to rot. About five years ago Ditidaht transplanted 12 elk from the Shaw Creek area to its territory at Nitinaht in an effort to create a sustainable herd with enough numbers that would benefit the people into the future, said Ditidaht Chief Councillor Jack Thompson.  “We were on the verge of being able to hunt about four elk. We were totally disgusted with the slaughter of these elk… Elk are an important source of food for Ditidaht people. Elk are also important for cultural purposes. The slaughter of these elk deprives the people of a food source. We cannot tolerate that or sit by without taking action. We will defend our resources.” Said Chief Councillor Charlie Cootes Sr. of Uchucklesaht First Nation “It is a sad state of affairs when hunters go out and slaughter numerous elk putting the entire herd’s existence at risk. The Uchucklesaht Tribe hunters have been trying for three years to harvest one elk for ceremonial purposes for our people and the poachers responsible for this slaughter leave the meat in the bush to rot.”