Government invests $40,000 in East Kootenay wildlife
Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett announced March 11 that the Government of B.C. is investing $40,000.00 to mitigate the drastic impacts of one of the East Kootenay’s harshest winters in decades.
“I have hunted here for almost 25 years and I know our elk and deer numbers are down,” said long-serving MLA Bennett. “With ungulate populations already weakened by too many predators, we need to do everything we can to hold on to the elk and deer that are struggling.”
Registered charity, The Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund (KWHF), will receive the funds to purchase hay and distribute throughout the region.
Carmen Purdy, President of the KWHF, has inspired dozens of local volunteers who are regularly feeding elk and deer in strategic locations around the East Kootenay every day. The Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations is lending support and advice to ensure feeding is done effectively.
“We need to ensure the animals can live through the next few weeks until nature starts to provide her early spring nourishment,” Purdy stated. “Then we need to ensure that we manage predators in the region not just the prey species that we hunt.”
Government is currently creating a recreation land use plan for the Koocanusa area that contains some of the region’s top wildlife habitat. MLA Bennett started the planning process and is supported by the Ministry of Forests Lands & Natural Resource Operations to protect and enhance elk and deer populations.
“I have always believed that these planning exercises and wildlife management are only successful when local people participate and government listens to the years of experience available in the East Kootenay,” Bennett offered. “And while I welcome the efforts of this new U.S.-based group, the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, I am grateful that the BC Wildlife Federation, which represents tens of thousands of B.C. hunters, is working closely with government on an improved wildlife management model. I applaud the work of Jim Glaicar, President of the BCWF and encourage him to continue that work on our behalf,” Bennett said.
“Hunters and others who love wildlife can help professional wildlife managers make the most effective decisions and frankly that doesn’t always mean closing areas and making parks,” Purdy said. “I have faith that the BCWF will advocate on our behalf and will ensure that better wildlife management with more funding is a reality with a BC Liberal government after the May 9 election.”