B.C. First Nation plans emergency meeting as moose population dwindles
WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. – A First Nation in British Columbia’s central Interior has called an emergency summit to respond to the provincial government’s moose harvest allocation in the region.
The Tsilhqot’in Nation says urgent action is needed to ensure the safety and health of moose populations with the territory north and west of Williams Lake.
Tsilhqot’in chiefs set to meet on July 10 say moose populations have declined dramatically in the Cariboo region over the last two decades, threatening the First Nation’s food supply and its Aboriginal rights to social, sustenance and ceremonial food sources.
The chiefs say in a news release that last year’s wildfires, including the Plateau complex of fires that burned more than 5,200 square kilometres of Chilcotin woodland, have further harmed dwindling moose habitat.
Concern about moose harvest allocations comes as the B.C. government has confirmed wildlife allocations until 2021, including an allocation of 3,724 bull moose in the Cariboo.
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The Tsilhqot’in release says chiefs and other leaders will discuss options to protect moose populations within their traditional territories when they meet.
Chief Joe Alphonse, tribal chairman of the Tsilhqot’in National Government, says declining fish and wildlife populations have created a dire situation.
“It is extremely worrisome that B.C. continues to approve limited entry hunts for moose in our territory with limited science or collaboration,” he says in the release.
Alphonse says the province must change the way it manages wildlife and is calling on the government to take action to protect moose in Tsilhqot’in territory until stocks recover.