This bull elk was released last year at Harrison Lake

This bull elk was released last year at Harrison Lake

Elk returned to Harrison Lake forests

Community of Sts'ailes 'bubbling with excitement' over relocation program

Elk have been reintroduced to the forests surrounding Harrison Lake, thanks to a collaborative project between the Sts’ailes band and the Ministry of Fish and Wildlife.

There are now 60 elk living in the region, said Kelsey Charlie, and their numbers are expected to grow steadily. Chelsey, a Sts’ailes council member, has been working with the province for several years on reintroducing the elk to this area. While there have been several releases recently, about two dozen more elk were brought here from Sechelt on Sunday.

“It was quite the day,” Charlie said, noting the significance of the release. “My dad is 75 and it must have been at least 60 years plus since there was elk harvested here.”

Not that hunting of the elk will be happening in the near future, he pointed out.

While historically, elk hunting was quite popular in the area, it will take at least five to 10 years of studying the reintroduced elk before any harvesting regulations will be decided. At one point, it’s estimated that there were more one million of the mammals across North America. However, overhunting led to dwindling numbers, Charlie said. A transplanting project began in the 1980s on the Sechelt peninsula, but because they breed and multiply so quickly, the elk outgrew that area.

The current project in the Harrison area goes back about 10 years already, Charlie said.

“We’ve talked about harvesting plans and all these different things,” he said. “We’re taking more of a proactive approach rather than reactive one, doing a lot of collaborating, and that includes the harvesting. But right now it’s everyone’s responsibility to look after them,” he said.

With elk being a traditional meat for local First Nations, it will be a significant return eventually. Elk meat is used for potlatch meals, for example, and it would be preferable to hunt local animals.

“But we’re not even thinking that way right now,” Charlie underlined. “We’re only thinking of getting them solid.”

It’s been quite a process to relocate the large animals. Once trapped in Sechelt, the elks would be moved (sometimes by barge) by the next day with the help of one of the province’s senior biologists, Darryl Reynolds.

“I would get a call at 10 p.m. at night and then hustle around and make arrangements for the next morning,” Charlie said. Forty of the elk have been relocated closer to the Sts’ailes area, and 20 were brought up the river by barge to Port Douglas.

“It’s been a long process,” Charlie said. “It’s been 10 plus years of working on this and it’s been a very collaborative process. The whole community has been bubbling with excitement, and everyone is taking this with the highest regard.”

news@ahobserver.com

 

Just Posted

/  Bob Friesen Photos
PHOTOS: Father’s Day Parade cruises through Mission

Taking It To The Streets event featured about 100 vintage vehicles

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

(Maps.Chilliwack.com)
RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Agassiz toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Most Read