By Wawmeesh G. Hamilton
A $25,000 reward hasn't dissuaded poachers from killing elk near Port Alberni.
A fully butchered elk carcass was found by BC Conservation officers near Klanawa River between Nitihaht and Bamfield, a conservation official said. "The shoulders, hind quarters and backstraps were missing so all the meat is gone," the spokesperson said.
The discovery came within days of a reward posted by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, said Larry Johnston, director of lands and natural resources for the Huu-ay-aht First Nation.
“This is disturbing to hear and it pissed me right off when I found out,” Johnston said. “When is this going to stop?”
Initial reports had five elk being found but a BC Conservation Service spokesperson said only one was reported found.
On Dec. 4, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council offered a $25,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever is slaughtering elk in the Alberni-Clayoquot region.
To date, 10 elk carcasses have been found around the Klanawa Valley, Franklin Camp, Nahmint and Flora Lake since April, conservation officials reported.
The herds in the area “can’t sustain any level of harvest and still be able to keep going,” conservation officer Ben York said.
Johnston found out about the additional elk through regular meetings he has with conservation officers, he said.
Tips have come in steadily since the reward was offered, and Johnston sees a pattern emerging as a result.
Johnston believes that there is more than one person or group at work. “There's a randomness to it: some have been found in Alberni, others in Nahmint and some in Gold River.”
A hunter himself, Johnston also says he believes the culprits practice pit lamping, and that they are very skilled at what they do. More....