The BC Government is investing 40 thousand dollars to help starving elk and deer in the East Kootenay.
Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett made the announcement at Cranbrook’s Wildlife Management Roundtable on Saturday.
He says the Province would support the Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund’s efforts to distribute hay throughout the region.
“There’s no alternative. We’re either going to feed elk and deer or we are going to lose hundreds and hundreds of animals,” Bennett says. “We have volunteers led by the Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund who are feeding elk. They need more money for hay, they need more money for all of the different pieces of that feeding program.”
Bennett wishes an event like this weekend’s forum would have happened 10 years ago, because it helped bring together all the different interest groups in the region to discuss issues in the backcountry.
“You had every single disparate wildlife interest all in the room today saying ‘Yes, there is an issue. Yes, we can do better. The status quo is not good enough,'” Bennett says.
He says the BC government is working on a province-wide strategy to alleviate the issues animals are facing in the region.
“The BC Wildlife Federation represents tens of thousand of people across the province. It is the largest outdoor organization by far in the province,” Bennett says. “They have been working with my colleague Steve Thomson and government on this new management model and I believe in the near future, we’re going to have some very good news for everybody who was at this meeting today.”
Bennett adds the feedback from all stakeholders involved is a great message to send to the current BC government.
Heritage Fund President Carmen Purdy was at the funding announcement and thanked Bill for his support.
Purdy says their goal is to sustain animals for the next few weeks until the snow pack can melt and more natural food can be available.
– Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett
– Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund President Carmen Purdy
– Jeff Johnson