B.C. Conservation Office asking questions after butchered animal left on road east of Bamfield
A Port Alberni resident's trip into the wilderness last weekend was marked by a grisly discovery when a slaughtered elk was found south of Bamfield.
Bruce MacDonald ventured into the Klanawa Valley 80 kilometres south of Port Alberni with his son for a Sunday fishing trip when they found the abandoned female shortly after noon.
"It looks like it was shot and left on the road," he said. "They cut just the two front legs off and a little bit of the back and left it laying there."
The carcass appeared freshly killed over the previous 24 hours, said MacDonald, who documented the discovery with photographs. Except for some crows lingering nearby scavengers had yet to consume the dead elk.
"I just took the pictures and then carried on and went fishing but I was pretty upset," Mac-Donald said. "I was sick to my stomach when I saw it, both me and my son."
The slaughtered elk was found in the traditional territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal
Council, and MacDonald's discovery came just over a year after the First Nations' government offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of eight other elk poached in late 2013. Those illegal killings also occurred south of Port Alberni, including one carcass found near the Klanawa River.
After the Nuu-chah-nulth announced the reward other organizations put up funds to assist in the search for the poachers, including a $5,000 pledge from B.C. Coastal Outfitters, $2,000 offered by the B.C. Wildlife Federation and a $1,000 reward from Pearson Kal Tire. No arrests related to the poaching have been announced.
Elk poaching is especially concerning considering the decline of herds south of the Alberni Inlet, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
David Karn, who spoke on behalf of the conservation service, said the recent slaughtered elk is currently being investigated. It's yet to be determined if an illegal kill occurred, he said, as limited elk hunting is permitted in some parts of the Island.
"The protection of the Roosevelt elk is of primary concern, but part of the investigation would be to determine if it was an authorized hunter or not - whether that was limited entry or treaty or aboriginal right to hunt," said Karn. To help control the decline of elk populations on Vancouver Island, witnesses to suspicious incidents concerning wildlife are encouraged to immediately notify authorities at the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline of 1-877-952-7277.
"It's happened way too much on this Island in the last few years," MacDonald remarked. "I don't know how many of them are left, it's pretty sad."