The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council has offered an unprecedented $25,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever is slaughtering elk in the Alberni-Clayoquot region.
“We’re serious about this,” NTC president Deb Foxcroft said after a formal press conference.
“We’re disgusted and appalled at how these elk were destroyed. Traditionally in our teachings and our values you utilize the whole elk. We don’t take the horns, we don’t do it for sport. We do it for food. Animals are sacred to us.
“This is totally against our teachings and protocols.”
So far 10 elk carcasses have been discovered around the Klanawa Valley, Franklin Camp, Nahmint and Flora Lake since April, conservation officer Ben York said.
“This is a consistent problem in this area, certainly since I’ve been working here. We lose a number of elk every year,” he said.
“This year it does seem to be a little bit more than in the past. But the First Nations here have said enough is enough and they’ve stepped up.”
The herds in the area “can’t sustain any level of harvest and still be able to keep going,” he added.
Foxcroft said First Nations aboriginal guardians have stepped up patrols in the region in an effort to stem the slaughter.
Tseshaht First Nation Chief Councillor Hugh Braker passed on a message to the poachers: “We’re going to find you and we’re going to give your names to the conservation officers. This is completely against Nuu-chah-nulth beliefs and Nuu-chah-nulth practices and our people are outraged.”
“The slaughter of these elks can’t go unpunished,” Hupacasath Chief Councillor Steven Tatoosh said.
Anyone with information can call the Report All Poachers and Polluters Tip Line at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).