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Elk poaching continues to trouble wildlife officials

At least elk have been poached in Cowichan in recent months, all of them female. - Andrew Leong/file
At least elk have been poached in Cowichan in recent months, all of them female.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

Although elk poaching in the Cowichan Valley isn't on the upswing, conservation officers still want the public to know the situation isn't good.

And they'd like the community's help nabbing poachers.

"It's not good, but it's also not unusual," conservation officer Mark Kissinger said Wednesday, following a press release issued by the Ministry of Environment looking for assistance in their investigation into illegal hunting of Roosevelt elk.

"Throughout February and March, seven elk were found dead in various areas of the valley," said the release. "The elk were found on private land, mostly in areas where hunting is not permitted due to public safety concerns."

Kissinger said recent numbers are fairly consistent with previous years, but the intent of the release is simply making the public more aware of the situation.

"There's always big numbers and there's always concern," he said.

The elk noted in the release were from different herds, and all were female. Among them was a pregnant elk the News Leader reported March 24 had been killed and beheaded in the Lake Cowichan area.

"Given the time of year, some of the elk could have been carrying calves," said the release.

"The rash of elk killings is of concern to conservation officers who consider these acts a public-safety issue, and a risk to the long-term health of the elk population," said the release.

If the public has any information about these or any other poaching incidents, they are asked to call the Report all Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1 877-952-7277 or make a report online at: www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos/rapp/form.htm

The BC Wildlife Federation pays rewards up to $5,000 for information leading to the conviction of persons who have violated laws related to the protection of fish, wildlife or the environment.

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