NEWS

Poaching of elk continues on Vancouver Island

12/09/2013 10:37 EST | Updated 02/08/2014 05:59 EST
Poacher appear to have shot at least one more elk near Port Alberni, B.C., after the Nuu-chah-nulth tribal council first offered a $25,000 reward last week, the B.C. Environment Ministry has confirmed.

On Tuesday, the tribal council made up of 14 First Nations offered the reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible for killing eight elk.

By Friday, that toll had risen to 13 elk poached and partially butchered, with the remainder of the animals left to rot, according to a report published by the The Canadian Press.

But officials with the Ministry of the Environment said that they were only able to confirm that one more elk had been found shot since last the reward was offer, for a total of nine elk shot.

Larry Johnson, director of lands and natural resources for the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, says he's angry about the slaughter of a scarce animal that he's never been allowed to hunt.

The band had transplanted and protected the stock in the mid 1990s, and it had grown to the point where the bands would have been able to harvest one of the animals.

Johnson says the tips have poured in since the reward was announced, and he's convinced the poachers will eventually be caught.

"Because I think it's more than one group, due to the tips that are coming in, and it's because the unprecedented amount of money that's being offered here."

Expert hunters suspected

Johnson believes the poachers are experienced hunters because the poachers are quickly able to cut off the best cuts of meat.

"These are like expert people who know what they're doing because they aren't cleaning them like you would if you were on a normal hunt. It's like they know how to dislocate and pull off a hind quarter in seconds, minutes."

"All they're doing is making a couple of quick incisions, cutting the leg through the cartilage and where the ball joint is, one simple snip there, and the hind quarter is off."

He said in most of the recent cases the poachers have taken about 25 per cent of the meat and left the rest behind.

"A lot more people could have been fed with it. These people are taking it, selling it, something like that.'

In some of the previous cases the entire animal was left in the bushes.

Johnson says it was likely the poachers were interrupted or saw a vehicle coming.

Chief Jeff Cook of the Huu-ay-aht Nation told a news conference on Tuesday that the nation is opposed to the killing of elk for sport or fun and the fact that much of the animals were left behind troubles them.

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