Fw: (BC) Wild horses reported shot dead
- -----Original Message-----
From: jim robertson
Date: Wed, 04 May 2005 07:41:15 +0000
Wild horses reported shot dead
RCMP investigating reports that stallion, five mares killed recently
May 3, 2005
BRITTANY TRIANGLE - Chilcotin RCMP are investigating a claim that up to
six of B.C.'s last remaining wild horses have been shot to death.
The horses, which live in the Brittany Triangle region of the Chilcotin,
are thought by some biologists to be the province's only extant links
with a time -- about 8,000 years ago -- when wild horses were part of
North America's natural landscape.
David Williams of Friends of the Nemaiah Valley, a conservation group
dedicated to preserving the horses, said Monday that he has received
reports from locals in the area that a stallion and a herd of mares were
shot to death last week.
Witnesses to the incident refused to speak to The Vancouver Sun, but
they told Williams that one of the mares was discovered dead with her
two-week-old colt standing over her starving.
"We have heard that wild horses are being shot in the Tatla area [west
of Williams Lake in the west Chilcotin]," Williams said in a phone
interview. "At this point, nothing's been confirmed, but the RCMP are
looking into it."
Alexis Creek RCMP confirmed they are investigating the incident, but
nobody was available to comment.
Alexis Creek is about 100 kilometres from where the horses were said to
have been killed.
The 155,000-hectare Brittany Triangle is at the centre of a court case
involving the local Xeni Gwet'in nation, which is claiming aboriginal
title to the region, about 150 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake.
About 700 horses are said to live in the region.
The province wants to issue logging rights to the Brittany so area
companies can salvage stands of lodgepole pine, many of which have been
infested by the pine mountain beetle.
But the Xeni Gwet'in are suing Victoria for title to the triangle and
the right to continue traditional activities such as hunting, trapping
and the capture of wild horses.
Xeni Gwet'in Chief Roger Williams says if his nation, in conjunction
with five other Chilcotin bands, wins the case, the Brittany will be
Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection officials in Williams Lake
were looking into the incident Monday.
However, because the ministry doesn't regard the horses as wild, merely
feral, it doesn't offer them any protection.
Williams says by taking that position the ministry is condoning the
"This attitude seeps down to the locals and feeds this kind of activity.
There is no protection for the horses. It's open season on them."
He added that while six dead horses is not a threat to their population,
it is still serious "because if there's no protection for the horses,
it's the kind of thing that can spread."
© The Vancouver Sun 2005
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