A rare white moose was illegally killed by hunters in Ontario, prompting outrage and shock among First Nations in Canada.
The bodies of two female moose were found discarded along a service road in Timmins, Ontario, with of them being a sacred white “spirit” moose, The Guardian reported. The other moose had typical coloring.
The white moose, which are not albino, but reportedly get the rare coloring from a recessive gene, are legally protected from being poached in the area under the 1997 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. There are signs that warn against killing the animals.
Moose in the Timmins area that are more than 50% white are protected by Canada’s 1997 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.
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“Everybody is outraged and sad. Why would you shoot it? No one needs one that bad,” said Chief Murray Ray of nearby Flying Post First Nation to The Guardian. “If you have a license to shoot a cow moose, you could shoot another one. Just leave the white ones alone.”
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It is unknown how many of the “spirit’ moose are in the area, but a photographer in the area, Mark Clement, reportedly estimates there could be as many as 30 spread out over the region, according to the outlet.
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Officials have asked for those with information to come forward. Members of the community have also raised $8,000 as of Monday as a reward for anyone with information of the poachers that could lead to charges.