**GRAPHIC WARNING: Some people may find photos in this article disturbing

It’s a disturbing discovery that has conservation officers in the Cowichan Valley asking for the public’s help. A bull elk found dead off Highway 18 near lake Cowichan, three kilometers away from Skutz Falls, the victim of a poacher.

The animal was killed by the arrow from a crossbow, which struck its right side beside the shoulder, damaging its lungs. Conservation Officer, Robin Sano, says the illegal harvesting is the latest in a string of such attacks this year.

“The issue with this case is we're dealing with animals that are wasted. We're dealing with the blue threatened species, that is already a conservation concern,” said Sano. “The lack of respect basically for the animal, to not remove any of the edible portions and to let it waste on the side of the road.”

According to Sano, the bull elk are considered a threatened species, with dwindling numbers in British Columbia.

“It’s unfortunate because of the species … it is one that we are concerned about for management issues. It's unfortunate because it will decrease the population,” he said. “It's unfortunate because all of the legal hunters that have legal authorizations to hunt animals like this are not able to and will never be given the opportunity if the stock keeps being depleted.”

Making matter worse, conservation offices say they have been busy this year with multiple and ongoing investigations into other illegal harvestings of bull elk in the Cowichan Valley.

Conservation officers think the animal was killed on Nov. 22nd or 23rd, likely at night. 

Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area of Skutz Falls on Highway 18 on those nights is asked to call a 24 our RAP line at 1-877-952-7277.