Penticton Indian Band opposed to Bighorn Sheep harvest

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The syilx Nation — through the Penticton Indian Band — is exercising its unextinguished Indigenous rights and title to all lands and resources within syilx Territory and opposing the issuance of hunting tags for California bighorn sheep .

California bighorn sheep are considered a vulnerable at-risk species. They experience numerous and uncertain threats from disease (including a recent outbreak of Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae), forest development and encroachment, access development, land alienation, housing development, and grazing competition.

They are also highly vulnerable and sensitive to human disturbance from recreation, livestock grazing, resource extraction and the degradation of their range habitats by noxious weed invasion.

“The issuance of hunting licenses without our community’s free, prior and informed consent has been an ongoing issue for many years,” said Chief Greg Gabriel. “This is unacceptable; the Penticton Indian Band must be meaningfully and appropriately engaged regarding any and all decisions pertaining to the harvest of our tmixw within our unceded Territorial lands.”

Stewardship of the unceded territory is very important to the syilx people.

“The people of snpink’tn have a right and responsibility to take care of their tmixw relatives including yilíkʷlxkn (male bighorn sheep) and scmíłc̓aʔ (female bighorn sheep),” said PIB Natural Resource Department director James Pepper.

“Penticton Indian Band Elders and Knowledge Keepers have clearly stated that local bighorn sheep populations are not resilient enough to support provincially targeted harvest. The Penticton Indian Band, syilx Nation, does not approve or consent to the issuance of provincial hunting licenses that target bighorn sheep populations.”

The Band has previously undertaken measures to support and protect local bighorn sheep populations.

“In 2016, the Penticton Indian Band implemented a multi-year collaborative program to support local populations and work to rid them of a terrible disease — Psoroptes ovis — that was leading to significant population declines,” said Mr. Pepper.