The Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced this past Tuesday the discovery of 17 wild horses shot dead in the province of British Columbia. The equine bodies were discovered near the community of Walhachin, 65 kilometers west of Kamloops and 370 kilometers northeast of Vancouver. The federal institution indicated that the animals were “recently killed” and asks for the support of the population to find those responsible. There are no suspects so far.
Investigations are continuing
In a statement, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) reported that it received reports about the bodies of the horses last Friday. A group of agents toured the area and found the bodies, which had bullet holes. They were scattered over a distance of two kilometers of forest. The RCMP Forensic Identification section examined the scene, along with a veterinarian and a livestock investigator. “The reason for this devastating act cannot be confirmed at the moment,” the police said, stressing that the investigations are continuing.
The RCMP said the 17 equines were part of a group of about 250 feral horses that live in this area of British Columbia. The federal police force specified that these animals have great cultural significance for the Skeetchestn indigenous reserve, made up of members of the Shuswap people. The leaders of said reserve expressed their sadness at the discovery on Wednesday. “We are connected to all animals that walk, fly and swim, and it is our responsibility to ensure that all life is respected and cared for,” they said in a written statement. “We are mourning the unnecessary loss of the wildlife with which we share this beautiful landscape,” they added.
Importance “to Canadian heritage, Canadian cultures, indigenous peoples and ecosystems
An estimated 1,000 wild horses currently live in British Columbia. There are also groups of these equines in the provinces of Nova Scotia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Wayne McCrory, a renowned wildlife researcher in Canada, told The Canadian Press that it is time to increase protection for wild horses, both in provincial and federal legislation, because of their importance “to Canadian heritage, Canadian cultures, indigenous peoples and ecosystems.
Many indigenous communities in Canada have close ties to these and other animals; relationships affected on various occasions by poaching and the easy trigger. In November 2020, leaders of the Flying Post Indian Reservation (located in the province of Ontario) denounced the death of a white elk, considered a sacred animal among its members.