I cannot accept the Ken Sumanik’s (“Caribou”, April 10) implied premise that spending taxpayer’s money on protecting and re-establishing the mountain caribou numbers in BC and involving the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations is a waste of money because “(caribou) have never been an important source of meat and hides for (southern) indigenous people”. This investment is about much more than just meat and hides. The drastic declines and recent local extirpations of mountain caribou herds are indicators that unsustainable forestry and recreational practises have been in place in this province.
In addressing the conservation of mountain caribou, the BC, Federal and select First Nations governments have agreed on a draft proposal to recover and restore some of remaining, viable herds of mountain caribou through more ecologically friendly forestry, recreation and land management practises. This “Draft Section 11 Agreement and Draft Partnership Agreement” gives stewardship of some of the mountain caribou herds to the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations, who have already taken a leading and successful role in protecting and increasing the number of mountain caribou on their traditional territories.
So, in response to Ken Sumanik’s concern that too much money is being spent with no mention of “how many caribou will be produced”, if he is looking to equate the amount of money spent on the recovery program with an equivalent amount of meat and hides, he is failing to see the larger benefits of the recovery project. If we can’t learn how to turn the tide of destroying ecosystems and their animals towards more sustainable land and wildlife management practises in the province¸ there will be little of value left for anyone.