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New Tahltan program targets wolves, grizzlies to protect ungulates

The new program incentivizes Tahltan members to exercise their hunting rights to harvest predators
The Tahltan Central Government will target predatory species to protect ungulate populations. (Ivan Hardwick photo)

Northwest First Nations are no longer waiting for the provincial or federal government to implement wildlife management practices.

On June 28, the Tahltan Central Government announced that a new predator management framework would allow Tahltan people to take wildlife stewardship into their own hands.

The central government will be hiring a full-time predator management team to support the program.

Staff duties will include animal monitoring, population control, data collection, wildlife research and working with Elders and Knowledge Holders.

The central government’s wildlife department will also work with other stakeholders to support the initiatives.

When grizzly bear hunting was banned in British Columbia in 2017, the TCG says it eliminated an effective method for protecting populations of moose, caribou and deer.

“Culturally important to the Tahltan people and primary food sources, ungulate species are being protected by restoration programs and initiatives across the country developed between Indigenous, provincial, and federal governments with a primary focus on caribou,” a press release from the TCG stated.

Their studies have shown that bears are responsible for roughly half of moose calf mortality and that the wolf to moose ratio is too high in their territory.

The framework encourages Tahltan members to exercise their hunting rights to harvest predatory species, such as wolves and grizzly bears.

Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation also took matters into their own hands recently.

A new Marine Protected Area (MPA) was independently declared in the Great Bear Rainforest earlier in June.

“For decades we have worked with Canada and British Columbia to collaboratively form an MPA in Kitasu Bay (Gitdisdzu Lugyeks). We will continue to encourage that outcome, but can no longer wait until other governments act to preserve and protect this special place that is integral to our Nation,” Doug Neasloss, elected chief of the Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation said.

-With files from Kaitlyn Bailey

Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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