The NWT government says two new investigations into illegal caribou harvesting were opened at the weekend.
Forty-two animals are now believed to have been illegally harvested this season along the Tibbitt to Contwoyto winter road, which stretches across caribou migration areas to the territory’s three active diamond mines.
“One investigation relates to four animals, the other to five animals appearing to have been harvested illegally within the mobile zone,” said Mike Westwick, a Department of Environment and Natural Resources spokesperson, by email.
The mobile zone is a no-hunting area that varies with the location of Bathurst caribou in order to help protect and conserve the herd, whose numbers are at a historic low.
Westwick said separate reports from residents of a fifth-wheeler involved in illegal harvesting along the winter road during the past weekend had been investigated but no infractions were found.
“As we reach what is likely the last few weeks of the season, we are urging everyone to put respect at the centre of their harvest,” Westwick wrote, asking hunters to harvest only bulls and not cows in areas where harvesting is legal.
“We strongly encourage hunters to continue to harvest in a legal and respectful manner, so we can finish the year with no more harvest in the mobile zone to help protect the Bathurst herd.”