A pair of pregnant female elk was illegally killed by poachers in the southern region of Vancouver Island. After being hunted out of the region, a new herd had formed in the area just east of the Jordan River over the past three years.

In an interview with All Points West, British Columbia conservation officer Peter Pauwels expressed his concern on the devastating affects these actions will inevitably cause this newly established herd of elk.

“That’s a pretty short period of time, [but] they did have an established group there,” Pauwels said. “There were females. There’s a bull in there as well. They were breeding. They were an established group that was getting larger.

“With elk, it’s safety in numbers. The smaller the group, the more vulnerable they are, so this has really set them back.”

The unfortunate truth surrounding this story is that these poachers may never be found without someone coming forward with pertinent information. The poaching of elk in British Columbia comes with a maximum fine of $25,000, suspension of hunting privileges and seizure of hunting equipment.

This turn of events has undoubtedly taken a toll on both the elk population on the island as well as the conservation officials, sportsmen, First Nations and others who were looking forward to seeing the population flourish. The hope is always that one day these small herds will grow to a point where a controlled and regulated hunt on an established and growing herd of elk in this region of Vancouver Island.

“There was an opportunity for this herd to grow, and to grow to a point where there could be a harvestable surplus of them if they’d been allowed to do their thing. Now that’s not going to happen, probably,” Pauwels said.

H/T: CBC News