In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau
Honor the Knowledge
Hunting, killing animals. What does that have to do with environmental conservation and why is it so important to talk about it?
As the need for it has declined, to most people nowadays, hunting and handling the animal are something strange, outdated, maybe even sad and repelling.
And yet it is one of the oldest and most natural ways to live. For the Gwich’in, still today, hunting is an integral part of their lives. They still count on the caribou as the major source of nourishment.
They’re dependence on the animal shines a spotlight on the importance of the caribou not only for the natural world, but for humans as well. Every spring, the porcupine caribou herd migrates all the way north to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The caribou leave their winter habitat in northern Yukon, which includes the Peel River Watershed. Their numbers decline. Climate change poses pressure on the herd, showing how our excessively carbon-emitting lifestyle on the other end of the world directly affects animals. And it shows how important the trees in the rainforests are to help prevent deterioration! One can only imagine how road development as well as oil, gas and mining claims in and around the Peel River Watershed would greatly endanger the caribou’s strenuous and long route, additionally cutting off vital food and water sources.
However, harvesting by First Nation hunters has never affected the number of animals in a harmful way, for more than 20,000 years. Instead, they state an example for sustainable use of the animals: No part is wasted, everything is so useful. From regular muscle meat steak and gut stew, to the marrow used as fat and nutritious blood soup! That is crucial here in the North, where the conditions are harsh and food is rare. Yet it should teach us a lesson everywhere in the world. The knowledge may not get lost. So watch closely!
Information courtesy of http://www.protectpeel.ca/porcupine_caribou_herd.html