Vancouver Island Roosevelt Elk Evicted from Winter Home
By B. McPherson
Weep for this small group of Roosevelt Elk. They will probably be dead by spring. They’ve come down from the Island Range of mountains to winter in the Douglas Fir lowlands. Big surprise for them this year – the local First Nation group has been given permission to log the endangered fir trees. They no longer have a winter home.
The Province of British Columbia touts its “Supernatural BC” on its car license plates. It is a beautiful province but like any delicate treasure it needs to be treated gently. The Nanoose Bay forest is being logged on Vancouver Island. The land is crown land, that is publicly owned, yet desperate pleas and court cases have failed to dissuade the provincial government and the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation from logging a forest that holds endangered old growth Douglas Fir trees as well as red listed(critically endangered) plants and animals.
For more details on this rare jewel that is being killed off along with the organisms that depend on its shelter go to this site: http://www.nanoosebayforest.com/
What will the Snaw-Naw-As people do with these magnificent trees? Make traditional totem poles, construct a long house, maybe even build some log homes for their people? Nope, they are going to sell them to TimberWest who will export them as raw logs.
TimberWest tells the world that they are part of a group that only sells timber from sustainable areas. It is well known that about 90% of the wood sold around the world as coming from sustainable sources and marketed as sustainably sourced is from similarly devastated areas.
Vancouver Island Roosevelt elk number about 3200, of which about 3000 live on Vancouver Island. They can reach over 1000 pounds with impressive antlers. A small, controlled hunt is legal each year but poaching continues to be a problem. Most of the elk live on the north end of the island. A small group lives in the mountains west of Nanaimo and descend to the lowlands when the snow drives them down.
The biggest threat to extinction of these magnificent creatures is habitat destruction like what we are witnessing in Nanoose Bay. The local cougar population won’t tackle these megafauna and their main enemy(aside from humans) is the Vancouver Island wolves. Wolves usually target weakened animals. Animals that have been driven from their familiar winter homes to forage who knows where, will be disoriented and underfed.