04/09/2014 12:26 EDT | Updated 06/09/2014 05:59 EDT

Roosevelt Elk On Vancouver Island Being Killed By Poachers

VANCOUVER - Seven Roosevelt elk have been illegally killed by hunters on Vancouver Island since February and conservation officers hope the public can help them find the offenders.

The Conservation Officer Service says the elk were shot in several locations around the Cowichan Valley, north of Victoria, throughout February and March.

The carcasses were all found on private land in areas where hunting is not permitted due to safety concerns.

Although the animals were from different herds, the conservation service says all were female and, given the time of year, some of the elk could have been carrying calves.

Officials can't say for certain because most of the edible portions of meat had been removed.

There's concern that not only does the poaching risk the long-term health of elk herds on Vancouver Island, it also creates a significant public safety issue, and anyone with information about the illegal hunters is urged to contact authorities.

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