In the city of Timmins, residents share their version of a Canadian ghost story. They speak of something that peeps through the dense forest, weaving in and out delicately between tall aspen and pine, a distant white blur blending into the tree line.
Now, this small area in Northern Ontario, Canada, is left broken-hearted and distressed.
‘Spirit’ Moose Left For Dead
This white blur between the trees is the rare “spirit” moose that resides in Canada. These moose are not albinos, rather they are the product of a recessive gene. This causes their coloring to be an ashy white with blotches of darker coloring.
“The moose are not albinos, but get their color from a recessive gene. Among Indigenous peoples in the region, white animals like bison, raven, and grizzly bears, are considered sacred and shouldn’t be harmed,” according to an article from The Guardian.
Poachers left two dismantled and headless female moose, as well as one white cow on the side of a road. It was a blatant act of disrespect with little purpose.
“Everybody is outraged and sad. 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,” Chief Murray Ray of Flying Post First Nation said in the same The Guardian article.
Not only is it an act against a spirit animal for the local people, but killing a moose that is more than 50% white is prohibited by law in Canada.
“Göran Ericsson is a professor of elk and moose for the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. He explained that, while the condition is rare, he sees news of white moose surface every year, and it’s possible the prevalence of these ghostly animals is increasing.”
Outrage Leads to Action
As the outrage continues to set in for the community, they now seek punishment. Wildlife officials are asking for information that could lead to the poachers. A Flying Post community member, Troy Woodhouse, is also offering a $760 reward. A drilling company then matched that and then a local animal welfare group offered $5,000.
The small community has come together with multiple forces to find closure and justice.
Flying Post First Nation has its reserve lands are north-west of Timmins and just outside Ontario.
The death of a remote and widely loved animal continues to send ripples through the small community, and now, the rest of the world.