June 1, 2007
Illegal Hunting of Caribou Results in $36,000 in Fines
Two hunters from Quebec have learned that the hunting of threatened woodland caribou herds of southern Labrador will not be tolerated and that such activity will lead to convictions and significant fines.
Jean Baptiste Malleck, 70, and his grandson Sebastian Malleck, of Pakuashipi, Quebec, received fines totaling $36,000 in provincial court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay this week for slaughtering 21 animals of the threatened Mealy Mountain caribou herd. The incident occurred in February 2006 near Birchy Lakes in southern Labrador.
This herd and other threatened woodland caribou of southern Labrador are protected under Newfoundland and Labrador�s Endangered Species Act.
"These convictions send a clear message to potential violators that threatened caribou herds of southern Labrador are off limits and that our courts are prepared to punish those who engage in illegal hunting activity," said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources. "It�s unfortunate that we continue to have individuals who disregard the laws developed to protect our vulnerable caribou herds."
Incidents of illegal activity involving protected animals in southern Labrador are particularly disturbing given the fact there is a healthy George River herd in the region that hunters can legally harvest.
"There is simply no need for the senseless slaughter of these animals," Minister Dunderdale said. "We are pleased the investigative efforts of our conservation officers have resulted in successful prosecutions. The continued dedication of our conservation officers is a key component of the Provincial Government�s efforts to conserve the threatened caribou of southern Labrador. The stiff penalties handed down in this case will hopefully deter others from engaging in illegal hunting activity."
The two individuals were fined $16,000 each under the Endangered Species Act and an additional $2,000 each for hunting in a closed zone. In addition, each individual is prohibited from hunting big game for five years and cannot carry firearms or ammunition in Labrador, or be in the company of anyone carrying a firearm or ammunition in Labrador, for five years.
Violating the Endangered Species Act can result in fines up to $50,000.
Budget 2007 contains $70,000 for dedicated routine air patrols of threatened caribou herds in southern Labrador. The patrols will enhance the ability of conservation officers intercept hunters before animals are killed. The Department of Natural Resources also continues to work with a broad-based coalition of interest groups in Labrador and Quebec on a Woodland Caribou Recovery Strategy.
Provincial conservation officers are also continuing their investigation into three separate incidents this winter involving the killing of 39 caribou from the Mealy Mountain and other threatened woodland caribou herds of southern Labrador, including the Lac Joseph herd and the Joir River herd.
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2007 06 01 9:40 a.m.
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