Many indigenous cultures across North America view albino animals as sacred. Perhaps the most famous is the Great White Buffalo, but other large game animals, such as moose and deer, are also revered.
According to the CBC, an albino cow moose was illegally shot in northern Ontario. Authorities say that during the week of Oct. 26, someone shot and harvested two cow moose on Nova Road, east of Foleyet, one of them being completely white.
In the management units 30 and 31, where the moose was killed, it is illegal to harvest a predominantly, meaning over 50%, white moose. It appears that a white moose would be legal in other management units.
Local authorities are investigating the illegal killing and rewards are being offered for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Troy Woodhouse, a member of the Flying Post First Nation, is personally offering a $1000 reward.
“White moose has been a symbol for us as long as we’ve known,” he said. “It’s been known as the spirit moose. If you see one in real life and you get a glimpse of it, you just realize how much of a sacred animal it is and rare and majestic to see.”
Woodhouse is hoping the reward would encourage either people to report what they know to authorities, or encourage the person responsible to turn themselves in. He recognizes that the killing could have been a mistake, and the hunter might not have known it was illegal to kill a white moose.
“Maybe it would encourage other local businesses or other First Nation members to voice their concerns and denounce that crime in general,” he said. “Potentially, it could’ve been a mistake from a hunter, too … Even if somebody turned themselves in, I would put the money towards their legal fees because mistakes do happen.
People in the area are outraged over the incident. Many are saying it could not have been a mistake because the regulation is posted all over the place.
“Everybody knows about this, there are even signs there, saying about the white moose and watch out for it,” Flying Post First Nation Chief Murray Ray said. “I really hope they find the people that are responsible for this and they’re charged.”
Many people have strong feelings about the killing of albino animals, even when it is completely legal. They range from the killing is unlucky to sacralige, but some people have no problem with it whatsoever, they see albinism as a genetic anomaly that has no spiritual connotation.
Based on the information provided by multiple sources, I would guess the moose was harvested for its meat and not for the hide. There was no report of wasted meat and they were able to recognize that the moose was white which suggests that the hide was not taken.
Hopefully, the person who shot the moose takes responsibility for their actions and turns themselves in, even if that means facing the outrage mob that is sure to follow.