At one time,
the First Nation could only take six elk each year now it's
Roosevelt elk seen on Vancouver Island. The Kwakwak'awakw
First Nation is seeing major growth in the numbers of elk
in the herd near their territory. (photo by James Abbott -
For decades, the population of Roosevelt elk in the forests
near Campbell River, B.C., has struggled to remain viable, with
only a few animals made available for local First Nations to hunt.
But now, the herds are growing, which is providing a lot of
meat to the Kwakwak'awakw First Nation.
"The herds are substantially healthy. I believe that they
are going to grow," John Henderson, a wildlife officer and
vice chairman for the Kwakiutl District Council told All Points
West host Robyn Burns.
Henderson, a wildlife officer and vicec hairman for the Kwakiutl
District Council, says the number of elk his First Nation
can hunt has gone up from six to 101.
(photo by Keith Vass-CBC)
At one point, Henderson says, the Kwakwak'awakw First Nation
could only hunt six animals each year. This year, that number has
gone up to 101.
Henderson says that increase also means more responsibility
for the First Nation not only to hunt the elk responsibly,
but to make sure future generations learn values of responsible
"We've got a lot of responsibility to follow in respect
to our ancestors. They've preserved the wildlife to the point we're
our young people need to take that responsibility
seriously to move on and move into the future," he said.
"We survive by the resources of the sea and the wildlife
atmosphere, which is out there. Not just elk, but all wildlife."
Henderson says the conservation success is due to a partnership
between First Nations, the provincial government, the Wildlife Stewardship
Council and even guide outfitters. He says these groups came together
after there was a realization of their shared responsibility for
Going forward, Henderson says he's hopeful that sense of shared
responsibility for the herd will keep the numbers at a healthy level.