An immediate hunting ban throughout Tahltan territory is being urged due to the continuing fire devastation throughout northwest British Columbia.
Chad Norman Day, the president of the Tahltan Central Government, has written a strongly worded letter to the province asking for the ban.
Day has also spoken to senior staff at the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and minister Doug Donaldson.
The Tahltan territory has been under a state of emergency since early August, with approximately 300 evacuees forced to relocate to areas throughout B.C. and the Yukon.
The fires have already destroyed nearly 30 homes in Telegraph Creek, and many cultural structures and graveyards. They continue to threaten further properties and areas of cultural significance.
“Animals have been forced to rapidly flee and are demonstrating abnormal behaviours,” Day said.
“Several bears and ungulates have been seen with burned fur. Roadkill on our highways has increased significantly as the wildlife escape the smoke and their burning habitats.”
“The Tahltan Central Government is concerned about the safety of all hunters and is respectfully asking resident hunters and others to refrain from hunting throughout Tahltan Territory until such a time that the state of emergency has been lifted, the fires are contained, and the damage to the region’s wildlife can be properly assessed,” the government said in a statement.
“Many of the local Tahltan families and hunters will refrain from hunting and are encouraging others to do the same.”
The Tahltan homelands encompass B.C.’s Wildlife Management Units 6-19 to 26 and 7-52 respectively.
Day’s letter to the province states: “The Tahltan Nation is requesting that the province support our position by formalizing a temporary hunting ban within Tahltan territory for this hunting season.
“Doing so will demonstrate your government’s respect for our devastated communities, wildlife and territory. We need unprecedented help and collaboration following the worst disaster in modern-day Tahltan history; a disaster that continues as you read this letter.”
Premier John Horgan is touring parts of the province today, planning to venture as far north as Prince George (see story).
The Tahltan Nation said it extends a heartfelt appreciation to all “who have stepped up to assist them and make donations through this difficult time.
“The Tahltan Central Government, Tahltan Band and Iskut Band would also like to collectively thank everyone helping with the firefighting efforts and those assisting all the evacuees.”
See the latest on the Yukon’s 31 wildfires.