The NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC) will not be issuing caribou hunting guidelines and permits for the 2014 hunting season, thus extending a moratorium on hunting the troubled George River caribou herd.
© Tony Chubbs photo
Two adult male (Stags) from the George River Caribou Herd spar during the fall Rut or breeding season. TC Media file photo
The NCC, a southern Labrador area Inuit organization, in a news release said it reviewed the moratorium it put into place in December 2012 and decided to keep it in place.
The measure was taken to protect what is left of the George River caribou herd, currently numbering about 20,000 animals — down from 800,000 roughly 10 years ago, and less than 30,000 last year.
“Based on traditional knowledge and outside sources, NCC feels that continuing a moratorium is in the best interest of the George River Caribou herd,” NCC Vice President Jim Holwell said.
Holwell, who has hunted the caribou for more than 40 years, said it was a difficult decision as hunting is a tradition and aboriginal right for the Inuit.
“But we need to help preserve what is left of these animals if they are going to be there for us and our future generations,” he said.
Along with suspending its hunt, NCC is part of the Ungava Peninsula Caribou Aboriginal Round Table, which was formed last year by aboriginal groups in Quebec and Labrador.