by EVAN MATTHEWS
A number of animal carcasses were left to decay on the ice of the Canoe River, but unless the culprit is found, not much will be done to clean up the mess.
The Goat found the carcasses about two kilometers down Canoe River W. Forest Road after getting a tip. It appeared as though someone used the West Canoe bridge to illegally dump garbage and animal remains.
The Goat found at least five carcasses including a full llama, the head of a cow and a minimum of three other unidentifiable skulls — mixed in with a pile of other garbage and debris.
Eamon McArthur of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, Omineca-Prince George region says they have a few leads. He says in a normal circumstances, Conservation may help to clean up the mess but with few active leads, safety concerns regarding the location, and because the Omineca-Prince George Conservation detachment is based over 300 KM away, McArthur says his hope is for a different solution this time around.
“A lot of times if we can track down the dumper we can make them clean it up,” says McArthur.
“We can even work towards giving a (major) ticket for $575 for discharge of waste. “However, if I check back in four days and this is cleaned up, we’ll bump it down to littering or something, which is $115,” he says.
Because the carcasses were dumped on the ice, McArthur says “it’s fairly sketchy” to get out on the ice and clear the area.
Conservation speculates the illegal dumper was hoping the load would fall right though the ice, but it didn’t go as planned, meaning the scene will remain as is until either the ice melts — polluting the river and bringing the animal carcasses into Kinbasket Lake — or until Conservation catches the culprit and forces them to clean it up.
“The carcasses will decompose if they hit the water,” McArthur says. “It’s unfortunate because it’s not really safe for anybody to clean it up.”
Conservation is gathering second-hand information, as McArthur says nobody from the organization has been on site.
“We’re looking into things,” says McArthur. “We’re following our leads, as there are only so many llamas in the area.”
While investigating, The Goat ran into two Valemount residents who were “taking a leisurely drive down to Kinbasket Lake” in order to see if the ice on the Canoe River had melted, so they could enjoy an afternoon of spring time fishing.
The couple told The Goat that once they found the carcasses, they immediately called the B.C. Conservation Officer Service Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line to report the incident.
McArthur stressed the need for individuals to come forward with testimony.
“If anybody sees any kind of dumping like this… the more information the better in terms of finding the person who did it,” says McArthur.
“It’s a long drive for us, so sometimes it can take us months to deal with files out of Valemount,” he says.