Elk Island National Park of Canada
The Canadian Wildlife federation defines poaching as the illegal taking of wildlife. Poachers violate regulations made to conserve wildlife. This illegal activity is a theft of a resource that is valued by Canadians and which must be preserved for future generations. Whether for personal gratification or commercial enterprise, poachers deprive others of the opportunity to enjoy these heritage resources.
There are three levels of offence against the National Parks Act (1988) and Regulations. Poaching of certain designated threatened species is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000.00 or up to five years imprisonment, or both. No threatened species are resident in the Park, although the peregrine falcon is recorded as a rare migrant passing through the Park and would be protected as such when in the Park.
Poaching of several species designated as protected species is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.00 or up to six months imprisonment, or both. This classification includes all large wildlife species present in Elk Island National Park. Removal of wildlife parts, including skulls, horns, and antlers are still poaching; similarly, removal of eggs and other wildlife parts is also prohibited.
The third level of the offence includes all non-designated species and also includes all other offences under the National Park Regulations (illegal camping, illegal fires, off-road driving, littering, picking mushrooms or other vegetation, entering a closed area, etc.). This prescribes a maximum penalty of $5000.00
These significant penalties reflect the high value of these resources. Elk Island National Park preserves a landscape where the vegetation and wildlife function in a near-natural state; it is an area that is preserved for the benefit of all, and those who take from it for selfish enjoyment are robbing others of their heritage and their opportunity to enjoy the parkland experience of Elk Island National Park.
Large mammals from Elk Island are poached for meat, for trophies, and the antlers are removed as well for collecting or commercial sale. Although it may appear the discarded antlers no longer serve any useful purpose in the wild, they do provide a vital source of mineral for many small mammals which gnaw on them; also, as the antlers break down over time, minerals are recycled back into the soil, then into plants, and ultimately back into the wildlife again.
National Park Wardens work in co-operation with other conservation agencies to deter poaching, conserve wildlife, and protect natural resources. Unlawful or suspicious activities can be reported at any time to:
Elk Island National Park
(Warden Service) 780-992-6389
(Wildlife Watch) 1-888-927-3367
Alberta Natural Resources Service