Mealy Mountains caribou threatened by illegal hunting
Multiple reports that endangered caribou herd is being harvested according to the Nunatsiavut Government
The Nunatsiavut Government is sounding the alarm that endangered Mealy Mountains caribou are being harvested in Labrador.
The Mealy Mountains herd, a sub-population of boreal woodland caribou, is listed as an endangered species under federal and provincial species-at-risk legislation.
Hunting the animals has been banned since 2004.
"We have received a number of reports that caribou are being taken by multiple hunters travelling into the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Area, and that there doesn't appear to be any enforcement efforts being carried out to stop the illegal activity," said Nunatsiavut's Lands and Natural Resources Minister Darryl Shiwak, in a news release.
Shiwak's news release, issued Tuesday, did not say who was hunting. He said the Newfoundland and Labrador government is responsible for enforcement.
"This is unacceptable, and we would expect action will be taken to ensure the Mealy Mountains caribou are protected," he said in the release.
The provincial Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources, Gerry Byrne, said enforcement officers in the wildlife division have been investigating for several days.
"Reports of the unsanctioned harvest of Mealy Mountains caribou are deeply disturbing, and further threatens the existence of the herd," said Byrne, in his own news release Wednesday.
"Evidence is being collected, and if warranted, charges will be laid and prosecution pursued."
Byrne said provincial governments, including Quebec, and Indigenous governments must work together to develop a management plan that will ensure the long-term survival of threatened herds.