Sacred white ‘spirit moose’ is killed by hunters in Canada to outrage of local indigenous population

Killing the rare white moose has been illegal since 2006

Harriet Alexander
Monday 16 November 2020 14:46 GMT
A white moose, like this one in the forest of Newfoundland, Canada, was killed in northern Ontario
A white moose, like this one in the forest of Newfoundland, Canada, was killed in northern Ontario (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A reward has been offered to find the killers of a sacred white moose shot in northern Canada.

Residents of Timmins in northern Ontario, 430 miles north of Toronto, were shocked when they found the remains of the white moose abandoned by the side of a remote road, CBC reported, saying the animal was discovered at the end of October.

The rare animals have been in the region since the 1970s and are a sign of good luck in indigenous culture.  

The has long been an understanding that they should be spared from hunters, and since 2006 it has been illegal under local law to kill them.  

Two female moose were recently killed, including one white animal.   

The total reward for the hunters' arrest stands at $8,000, following contributions from an animal welfare group and a local drilling company.  

Chief Murray Ray of Flying Post First Nation said that everyone is "outraged and sad" following the shooting.

He added: "If you have a license to shoot a cow moose, you could shoot another one. Just leave the white ones alone."

The incident is currently being investigated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.  

Though the moose are not albino, as they don't have red eyes, the animals appear white as a result of a similar condition called leucism, a partial loss of pigmentation in the skin and hair.

Murray said that there are signs put up so that people watch out for white moose, adding: "I really hope they find the people that are responsible for this and they're charged."

Troy Woodhouse, another member of the Flying Post First Nation, said that seeing a spirit moose makes you realise "how much of a sacred animal it is and rare and majestic to see".  

He has also put up a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the hunters' arrest, or for them to turn themselves in.    

"Maybe hunters tried to get one moose and got the other by accident," said Mr Woodhouse.  

"If a person does come forward and admit what they did, I would put my portion towards any of their legal fees."

"It's up to us to protect the land and the forest. We have a choice as individuals to stand up for what we believe in, and that's what I was trying to do."

Finding a dead white moose is rare, but not unheard of.

In 2013, three hunters killed a white moose in Nova Scotia, angering local Mi'kmaq people.  

They kept the head as a trophy but returned the pelt so a multi-day ceremony could be held to honour the animal.

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