Most of us are aware of what poaching is and the impact that it has on the environment. In fact, that is the reason why these animals are considered to be rare – they’re endangered. Additionally, poaching is one of the primary reasons for the extinction of rare animals. In some places of the world, if not most, poaching is illegal for a variety of reasons. However, that didn’t stop these hunters from poaching a ‘spirit moose’ that’s considered sacred by the local community.
The Sacred Spirit Moose
These moose are not albino but are white due to a recessive gene they’re born with. It’s considered extremely rare for a person to encounter a white moose in the wild. In fact, these moose have indigenous lore behind them in that they are thought to bring good luck. Although, the law to kill spirit moose was made illegal within the last decade. It’s been widely known for years that hunters should spare these animals whenever spotted in the wild. (1)
To give you an idea as to how serious it is to poach a spirit moose, take this into consideration. In 2013, poachers had killed one close to the Mi’kmaq people in Nova Scotia and were rightfully charged for the crime. Forced to give the pelt back to the tribe while they kept the head as a trophy. The Mi’kmaq people used the pelt as a center-piece as they mourned the loss of the spirit moose for days in ceremony. (2)
The Community Stands With The Spirit Moose
Even though hunting with a license is legal in Canada, it’s illegal to kill these moose. However, that didn’t stop these poachers from killing this rare spirit moose. Nobody knows who poached these unsuspecting creatures, but they aim to find out.
“It saddens me that somebody would take such a beautiful animal,” Explains Troy Woodhouse, a Flying Post member. “Nobody knows exactly how many are in the area, so the loss of a single spirit moose is one too many.” (1, 2)
Unfortunately, the heads of two cow moose were found discarded on the side of the road earlier this week. One of which was a spirit moose and it’s causing quite the outrage from locals. The northern Ontario community of Timmins in Canada is currently offering an $8,000 reward for the outing of these poachers. As a collaboration effort between Woodhouse, a drilling company, and an animal welfare group.
“Everybody is outraged and sad. Why would you shoot it? No one needs one that bad,” Claims Chief Murray Ray, from the Flying Post First Nation. “If you have a license to shoot a cow moose, you could shoot another one. Just leave the white ones alone.” (1, 2)
Why Albino Animals Are Endangered
Just because the spirit moose of Canada aren’t albino doesn’t give people the right to hunt them. Although, there are a variety of other albino animals that are considered endangered in Canada. To the Mi’kmaq people, albino ravens, grizzly bears, and bison are some of the most sacred animals of the land. Killing any of these rare animals could result in dire consequences if one were to poach them. It’s the hunters responsibility to respect nature and the people that work hard to preserve it. It takes a lot of effort to spread awareness about the effects that poaching has on the environment.
“Maybe hunters tried to get one moose and got the other by accident. If a person does come forward and admit what they did, I would put my portion towards any of their legal fees,” Woodhouse explains. “There’s so much negativity in the world today. It’s nice to just see some people banding together and trying to turn this into something positive.” (1, 2)
A lot of people feel similarly to Woodhouse and are demanding justice for this untimely death. Mark Clement, a photographer within the area, says that he’s been able to spot multiple spirit moose over the years. Claiming that he knows where four white bulls may be and approximates that there are at least 30 spread out over the region. Although the term ‘spirit moose’ is a distinct species, Canada has warning signs that advise against hunting them.
Read: Canines to the Rescue: Dogs Trained To Protect Wildlife Have Saved 45 Rhinos from Poachers in South Africa
Poaching All Over The World
Unfortunately, Canada is not the only country that experiences poaching. In fact, you will find poaching to be illegal in virtually all countries. Poaching not only affects the animals but the environment as a whole. It tampers with the natural order of ecosystems and wildlife communities as they develop. To give an example, overfishing in certain areas of the world has been known to alter marine life as a whole. (3)
You have to look at the entire picture and not just the trophy you’d get in that moment. Some people obviously poach for the money, but even then the criminal charges will make it so you never see daylight again. These animals play a huge part in our day to day lives without us even realizing it. This isn’t necessarily to say that hunting is a bad thing to do. However, it’s important to know when you’re hunting versus when you’re poaching. Regardless, we must all be mindful of the natural web we all coexist on. (3)
Keep reading: When Animals Fight Back, The Hunters Become The Hunted.