Aboriginal leaders have called for an investigation in to the slaughter of dozens of caribou along a Northern Manitoba winter road.
Close to three dozen butchered caribou carcasses were discovered along the road with their antlers removed and their meat left to rot.
“We’re very disgusted,” said Grand Chief David Harper, “they took their antlers and basically just left the meat. That kind of action is totally uncalled for; you don’t even call that hunting.”
Along with the investigation, chiefs are calling for more patrols by conservation officers on winter roads. Aboriginal chiefs say they were told by conservation workers in Thompson that the slaughter could only have been carried out by about 15 licensed hunters who were each allowed to legally kill caribou.
Chief Joe Antsanen with the Northlands Denesuline First Nation called the scene heartbreaking after he came across the discovery near Lynn Lake while travelling to Winnipeg.
“We have respect for the caribou, we take all the meat, even the hide, we make good use of that,” said Antsanen, hinting that First Nations hunters could not have been responsible.
Jack Robinson, a Cree elder who has been hunting near Thompson for years, said the images disturbed him, and that he’s also come across caribou that have been shot for no reason.
“This is just terrible,” said Robinson, “we take everything from the animal, we don’t waste anything. This has to stop.”
The chiefs are planning a ceremony to honor the dead caribou and have posted a reward for any information that helps track down the perpetrator(s).
The complete waste of prime meat was disgusting to Chief Jimmy Thorassie of the Sayisi Dene Nation at Tadoule Lake, especially with the high costs of food in remote Northern communities.
“The cost of food is outrageous, why would we want to do something like this?” said Thorassie, “to see this is very sad.”