Canadian First Nations Outraged By The Killing Of 'Sacred' White Moose
Published in Nov 2020 / Updated in Oct 2021
Estimates show that there are just 30 white moose remaining in Ontario, Canada. So, we can understand why killing one of these creatures is so upsetting to the locals.
In fact, when a rare white moose was killed in the area, Canadian First Nations were infuriated. To the indigenous peoples, these are not just animals, they are spirits.
Two moose were killed, but one was a rare white cow. Their remains were found abandoned on a service road.
The remains included the heads of both animals.
Chief Murray Ray had a hard time understanding why anyone would do such a thing:
Why would you shoot it? No one needs one that bad.
If you have a license to shoot a cow moose, you could shoot another one. Just leave the white ones alone.
Unlike what some people think, white moose are not actually albino moose. Instead, they have a rare recessive gene that makes their fur a peculiar white shade.
According to residents of Timmins, an Ontario city, the white moose has been in the area for at least 4 decades. However, they are still considered very rare.
In fact, it is not clear how many of them are still left. That is why the loss of one is so painful:
So the loss of a single spirit moose is one too many. It saddens me that somebody would take such a beautiful animal.
These words were spoken by Troy Woodhouse, a Flying Post community member.
The Animals Are Endangered
Mark Clement, who has seen several white moose over the years, remembers seeing at least four white bulls. He estimates that there are around 30 of these animals still in the area:
The spirit moose has and always will be sacred and respected in our family and our community. We coexisted with the spirit moose on our traditional territory. Our ancestors and elders have told us stories our entire lives about the majestic creature and how lucky we are to have them in our area.
Still, only Ontario has illegalized the killing of white moose in Canada.
Back in 2013, hunters took down a white moose in Nova Scotia, which enraged the local Mi'kmaq people. The hunters later gave back the pelt, which the locals used in a sacred ceremony to honor the animal's spirit.
However, they kept the head for themselves.
A similar request has been made by the Flying Post people. They would like the pelt of the animal to conduct a sacred ceremony in its honor.
It Might Have Happened By Accident
In most circumstances, poachers and hunters hold on to the heads of these animals as trophies. But clearly, that didn't happen this time since the heads were left on the road.
That is why some think the killing might have happened accidentally. According to reports, the death of the white moose might have been unintended:
Maybe hunters tried to get one moose and shot the other by accident.
The matter is still under investigation by Canadian wildlife officials. They are also asking those with information to come forward.
An award has also been set up for anyone with information regarding the dead white moose. The current reward stands at $6,000. Woodhouse himself has offered a reward of $760.
He also said that if the person is found and discovered to have killed the animal by mistake, he will put this money towards their legal fees.