Protect the Moose in La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve
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In 2018, at least 19 696 moose were killed by non-indigenous hunters in Quebec, many of them just to become trophies. As part of the Anishnabe People of the land, today known as the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, we are the dwellers and stewards of the forest which has been called the Réserve Faunique de La Verendrye since 1979, under the broken promise that it would be restored back into a protected park ten years later.
We have lived hundreds of years migrating through these rivers and lakes to hunt and fish, living a peaceful and sustainable way of life with the forest and its animals. Living in and off this land, we keep track of moose, and care for it to flourish. Our traditional knowledge requires us to pay reverence and respect to the animals that gives its life to sustain our own. For the last five years, our elders and community hunters noticed an increasingly stark decline in moose populations, witnessing more and more acts of violence and animal cruelty against them, with their heads severed and their bodies abandoned in the forest. Our elders now demand for something to be done to protect the moose.
Last year, our community called on the Quebec government for a moratorium on moose hunting in the wildlife reserve of La Vérendrye; to no avail. In the 2019 hunting season, 47,20% of the 184 moose that were spotted by non-indigenous hunters - as compared with 289 which had been seen in 2017 - were slaughtered.
The moose was declared an endangered species in Nova Scotia in 2003, with less than 1000 animals left, and Minnesota did the same in 2016, after the moose population declined dramatically by 60%. The Cree Trappers Association recently joined our Anishnabe Nation in demanding the government of Quebec to recognize the urgency of the situation, but the money earned from sport hunting permits seems to count more than animals. Based on a highly-questionable aerial survey done over Abitibi in 2017, the government keeps saying that everything is fine, paying no attention to what we witness on our ancestral land.
Yet something can and must be done to save this majestic animal which our people has lived with in peace for time immemorial. Hereby we call out to all individuals and organizations concerned with wildlife sustainability to support our demands:
To the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec, we reclaim:
1) The revocation of all of moose hunting permits issued for the 2020 hunting season in the Réserve Faunique de La Verendrye.
2) A moratorium on moose hunting in the Réserve Faunique de La Verendrye to take effect immediately, and until the following demands have been fulfilled.
3) A formal and strict interdiction of hunting moose females (cows) and calves.
4) An independent survey to be lead on moose populations in the Réserve Faunique de La Verendrye, including a study of the impacts of sport hunting, and deforestation, as well as a scientific investigation of the presence of ticks and possible lime-disease on moose, as remarked by a few hunters.
5) The creation of a special committee dedicated to devise a 5 to 10-year moose population recovery plan, including joint teams of non-indigenous experts and local Anishnabe hunters and elders, which will serve as a basis for a permanent wildlife monitoring team after this period.
6) The fulfillment of the 1979 promise to restore the Réserve Faunique de la Vérendrye as a Protected Park whose stewards are the Anishnabe (Algonquin) People of the Ottawa River Watershed, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, whose land has never been ceded and who have never signed any land claim treaty.
In return, the Algonquins of Barrière Lake commit to outline hunting regulations concerning indigenous hunters, and abide by them.
Join us to protect the future of nature!
For further information required, please contact:
Chief Casey Ratt/Algonquins of Barriere Lake
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