Pregnant elk killed and beheaded by poachers

Wilderness Watch outraged as fetus torn away and left to rot

A pregnant elk was killed and beheaded in the Lake Cowichan area by poachers recently with the unborn fetus left to rot at the dead mother’s side.

The elk and baby were recently found by the Wilderness Watch department of the Valley Fish and Game Club who are outraged by the discovery.

“We’re really upset about this poaching,” said Wilderness Watch coordinator Denis Martel. “The Valley Fish and Game Club put a lot of time, effort and money into protecting these herds so they can be sustained eventually for First Nations hunting and limited entry hunting. The public have bought into that and we need them to continue supporting us. The government has also got to help us. They need to give us more time, more money, and more conservation officers so we can sustain these herds.”

Martel also wrote in with details on the incident.

“[The] unborn baby elk fetus was torn away from its birth sack and then laid beside the mother’s head, exposing both of the animals to the elements of this year’s bitter snow,” said Martel in an email. “Only the cow head and fetus were left at the poaching scene.”

The remains of another mature cow were found earlier this month also by the Wilderness Watch, according to Martel.

“This poached elk was more disturbing to find than usual due to the way the elk remains were found. In one area, the mature pregnant cow was shot and the gut bag removed. The elk was then dragged several metres to another area where the poachers dressed out the rest of the elk, beheaded the cow elk, removed the unborn elk fetus out of its birth sack, and finally laid the fetus beside the cow elk’s head, leaving a grisly statement to all who witnessed or saw the photo of this horrible scene.

“What really makes Wilderness Watch members upset is the fact that the unborn fetus would eventually have been a beautiful elk calf in only a few more weeks. This is not the first poached elk we have found. In the past few months we have found the remains of at least five or six more poached elk in the Cowichan Lake area. Poaching a mature cow elk at this time of year, in actuality, kills two elk: A mature calf bearing elk cow as well as a young calf. This calf could be another calf producing cow elk who could give birth to several calves in her lifetime or the calf could become a majestic bull elk, now of which none are possible.”

Martel is encouraging anyone with information to contact the 24-hour reporting poachers hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

“Wilderness Watch members, whose mandate is to report a poacher/polluter to the conservation officer service or a federal fishery officer, have approximately 30 Valley Fish & Game Club members who are always looking for illegal activities while out in the wilderness, lakes or ocean. This all helps in crime prevention, but it is only through the help of the general public that crime prevention can truly be successful.”