12/04/2013 10:18 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Elk Killing Near Port Alberni Nets $25,000 Reward


PORT ALBERNI, B.C. - A group of Vancouver Island First Nations is offering a $25,000 reward for the prosecution of those conducting an illegal elk kill in its territory.

The Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations say since April, at least eight elk have been found dead in the Port Alberni area.

Some of the carcasses have been abandoned, while others have been partially harvested, and four more appeared to have been professionally butchered.

First Nations officials say the elk and other wildlife are not only valued for food, but are of great cultural significance.

Chief Jeff Cook of the Huu-ay-aht Nation says they're completely opposed to the killing of elk for sport or fun and the fact that much of the animals were left behind troubles them.

About five years ago, a dozen elk were transplanted into the area to create a sustainable herd and First Nations had been on the verge of being able to hunt as many as four of the animals.

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