EDMONTON – Three people from Darwell, Alta. have been charged under the Wildlife Act for their part in trafficking big game animals west of Edmonton.
Eva Potts, Ryan Grandbois-Faulds and Daisy Potts pleaded guilty Tuesday to trafficking in wildlife following an investigation in the Lac Ste. Anne area.
The trio must report all hunting activities and possession of wildlife for the next five years. They also face fines between $4,350 and $15,000.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife began its wildlife trafficking investigation in 2010 after receiving a tip that moose and elk meat was being illegally sold.
The investigation wrapped up in 2014 when officers seized 322 packages of moose and elk meat. The meat was worth about $6,500 on the black market.
“The bigger impact when people are selling the wildlife is they’re actually out there poaching a resource that takes that resource away from everybody else,” said Andy Nestorovich, a district Fish and Wildlife officer out of Spruce Grove.
“If they can make money off of it they’re going to poach more animals and more animals and it causes a kind of a compounding effect if they’re able to get away from this and make a profit off of it.”
In Alberta, if a hunter legally harvests a big game animal, they can have the head mounted and the meat processed. However, selling the meat is illegal.
“Any unregulated trade in wildlife helps fuel black market demand, which could lead to increased poaching and pressure on animal populations,” according to Alberta Fish and Wildlife.
Three Alberta men were previously charged with 19 counts under the Wildlife Act in the same incident.
In June 2015, Edward L’Hirondelle, Harold L’Hirondelle and Norman L’Hirondelle were slapped with fines between $6,900 and $27,240.
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