February 23, 2007
Province asks Quebec Innu to Respect Closed Hunting Zones
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador warned today that the killing of caribou from the threatened woodland caribou herds of Southern Labrador will not be tolerated and provincial conservation officers will enforce the laws that protect the animals.
Conservation officers with the Department of Natural Resources have confirmed that a 10-member hunting party from Quebec is traveling in the Joir River area, home of a woodland caribou herd protected by endangered species legislation. Members of the hunting party, intercepted near the border between Labrador and Quebec, were warned that the herd is protected and the taking of these animals is illegal.
"We fully understand that caribou hunting is an integral part of Innu life, but we will not tolerate a blatant disregard for laws established by the Provincial Government to protect threatened caribou herds," said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources. "There are healthy caribou herds in Labrador and zones that are open to hunting, but that is not the case in this area with this particular herd."
The Joir River group, for example, is numbered at less than 50 animals. Provincial conservation officers are monitoring the herd and will enforce the rules and regulations governing this zone. Department officials are also working cooperatively with the leadership of the Innu Nation of Labrador to reinforce the importance of conservation efforts with this hunting party, and contact has been made with the leadership of the Quebec Innu.
"Over the past number of years we have met with and informed the Quebec Innu about vulnerable state of the woodland caribou and emphasized the importance of the conservation measures that have been established to protect these animals," Minister Dunderdale said. "Quebec Innu are fully aware of the regulations and why they are required and this was reiterated directly to the hunting party by our officers on Thursday. We ask that they respect our laws."
Last year conservation officers identified over 30 caribou kill sites in various areas of Southern Labrador, all within zones closed to hunting.
A broad-based coalition including provincial wildlife officials and representatives from the Quebec Innu have been working together over the past several years to develop and implement a Woodland Caribou Recovery Strategy.
2007 02 23 11:00 a.m.
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