News & Opinion | November 16, 2020 6:00 am

Shooting of White Moose Outrages Canada

The moose was sacred to the local Indigenous community

White moose
A white moose in the wild.
Lasse Dybdahl/Creative Commons

Near the city of Timmins, Ontario, residents recently discovered the remains of a pair of moose, shot and killed by suspected poachers. That’s unpleasant enough on its own, but another detail has further complicated matters: one of the two moose had white fur, the result of a recessive gene. Consequently, white moose are very rare — and they’re considered sacred to the Indigenous communities nearby.

As Leyland Cecco reports for The Guardian, the killing of this particular moose has led to widespread outrage across Canada. Wildlife officials are seeking the people responsible for killing the moose, and Troy Woodhouse, a member of the Flying Post First Nation, has offered a reward for evidence in the case. That reward has been increased through contributions from a local business and an environmental organization — bringing the total to $8,000 CAD (or $6,100 USD).

A similar case from 2013 may prove instructive. At the time time, a group of hunters in Cape Breton shot and killed an albino moose, angering the nearby Mi’kmaq communities for whom the moose was sacred. When the hunters were made aware of what they had done, they apologized and gave the Mi’kmaq the moose’s pelt for use in a ceremony.

According to The Guardian‘s report, the Flying Post First Nation has made a similar request regarding the pelt of the white moose killed in Ontario. Hopefully more information will surface soon and the Flying Post nation will be able to get some closure on this matter.