By Amy Judd
VANCOUVER – Conservation officers in the South Cariboo region have discovered a number of dead eagles.
Sgt. Len Butler, a Conservation Officer in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Zone, said they received a call in early April from a concerned citizen who found several garbage bags with dead eagles inside.
Sixteen in total have been found over the past month in a few regions. “As the snow starts to come down, people have noticed probably a few old sites,” said Butler. “The birds have completely decomposed so it’s most likely not an event that just occurred this year.”
“So that is definitely a concern.”
Butler said the birds are whole, so it somewhat eliminates possible trafficking, but anything is still a possibility at this time. No parts were removed from the birds.
A number of the eagles found recently were shot, but it is not clear how the rest of them died. They have all been sent to the provincial veterinary lab.
“From that forensics, we’ll be able to tell how they were killed, and also identify what they were possibly feeding on when they were killed,” said Butler. “We’ll be able to get a lot more information on this from the lab.”
He said it is still amazing the different types of poaching conservation officers deal with in these types of cases. “It is not an unusual thing to happen,” he said, speaking of eagle poaching, “but just not in the sheer numbers we have here.”
Poaching can mean any violation against the Wildlife Act. If a suspect is identified, offences like this could mean a fine of up to $100,000, a year in prison or both. Subsequent offences could mean a fine of up to $200,000 and go up from there.
The Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) program is a toll free tip-line and web-based service that allows you to report known or suspected violations of fisheries, wildlife, or environmental protection laws – anonymously and without risk of confronting the offender.
If you have just witnessed a serious violation, call 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).