Both the Tŝilhqot’in Nation and Ulkatcho Nation are implementing a hunting ban on mountain caribou in their traditional territories, citing population declines as a reason.
The ban applies to everyone, according to a statement issued by the two groups.
“Hunting will cease immediately and until further notice, for all caribou including bulls, cows and calves to protect the few remaining caribou in the Itcha-Ilgachuz, Rainbows and Charlotte Alplands herds,” the statement reads.
The Itcha-Ilgachuz herd, which are by far the largest of the three herds, have declined by 86 per cent and continue to decline with approximately 385 caribou as of June 2019, according to the two bands which maintain the caribou in the Chilcotin could disappear within the next seven years.
“Once again it is our people who have to make the sacrifices because of the government’s mismanagement of wildlife, resources and industry,” said Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chair, Tŝilhqot’in National Government.
“They put profit over sustainability and now the caribou are paying the price for that. Just like how the government managed the moose into decline the caribou are in even worse shape. We were notified too late in the B.C. management process to ensure the caribou were being managed properly with conservation values and not just money values taking priority. This is our land and our people that must now make the sacrifice to ensure that caribou persist in the region after the government, for too long, ignored the proper management decisions needed to take place for caribou. It is crucial that the caribou not be hunted and that activities that threatened the caribou’s habitat cease. There needs to be a continued push to ensure that predation is also being properly managed so that the caribou are given a chance to recover.”
In conjunction with the closure of caribou hunting, the Tŝilhqot’in and Ulkatcho Nations will be working on more effective ways to protect the remaining caribou including better habitat management, disturbance and predation factors through the herd planning process.
This hunting ban will remain in place until the caribou have recovered to the point sustenance hunting can once again sustainably occur to ensure the conservation and persistence of the caribou in the region.
Ulkatcho Chief Lynda Price said Chief Lynda Price said the band was opposed to the province’s proposal and caribou management plans to transfer some of the Itcha-Ilgachuz caribou herd to the Purcell Mountains in Southeastern BC between 2000 – 2005.
“The reason we did not agree with the transfer was because they had not dealt with the issues that created the decline in the caribou herd there,” she said. “UFN were not invited to the planning table to address the decline of the caribou herd in the Itcha-Ilgachuz. UFN informed the Technical Working group last week that we are not satisfied with their consultation process with UFN. This herd is located in our territory and we believe that the only productive way of managing this herd and other wildlife in our territory is to implement the UNDRIP legislation and immediately address legislation, policy and regulation pertaining to wildlife management and conservation with our full participation. UFN supports the ban on caribou hunting.”