Conservation officers and the Pemberton Wildlife Association (PWA) are hoping to find out who’s responsible for the illegal hunting of a moose north of Pemberton on the weekend.
Tim Schumacher of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service confirmed Tuesday (Nov. 27) that a moose was found shot and killed along the Lillooet River Forest Service Road on Saturday (Nov. 24).
“The moose was shot in an area where there is no moose hunting permitted,” Schumacher said in an email.
“It was shot an left on the road side.”
The PWA has put up a $1,000 reward for any information that leads to a conviction of the person responsible. Association secretary Allen McEwan said it’s club policy to offer the reward in instances of poaching when species with conservation issues — such as moose, grizzly bears or mountain goats — are involved.
“The PWA is deeply disappointed to hear a mature bull moose from this tiny population has been killed by a poacher,” McEwan said in an emailed statement. “Poaching has always been a problem. The PWA offered the reward … in an effort to raise awareness within our community about conservation issues surrounding this unique herd of moose.”
McEwan continued: “Wildlife enthusiasts in the valley enjoy seeing the moose — on the rare occasions when they show themselves.”
Moose sightings are exactly that in the Pemberton Valley — rare, but not impossible.
Schumacher said he contacted a Squamish-based biologist on Tuesday to learn more about the Pemberton-area moose population.
“There’s been a habitat assessment done, and the wintering range can support about 50 to 70 moose,” said Schumacher. “There hasn’t been an official population estimate done, but based on (the biologist’s) 20 years of experience, he can probably say that there are between 30 and 70 moose in the Pemberton Valley.
“So, it’s not extremely common, but there’s quite a few animals there, so they do get sighted on a regular basis.”
Schumacher said Saturday’s discovery is the first confirmed moose poaching in the Pemberton Valley in 2012. McEwan said conservation officers had previously told the PWA the area “lost at least three moose” last autumn in the Upper Lillooet area, though Schumacher was unable to confirm that figure.
Anyone with information on the crime is encouraged to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) Line at 1-877-952-7277. Any information given on a call to the RAPP line is considered confidential.