A farmer in a town north of Taber, Alta in Canada discovered nearly 100 dead geese left in mysterious conditions, Alberta Fish and Wildlife officials said this week.
Officials said 85 Canada geese and five snow geese were found partially covered in snow. The dead birds were found dumped on the side of the road on Tuesday along Township Road 112 and Range Road 161, about 11 miles north of Taber.
“It is a very significant number of birds that we’re looking at here,” Alberta Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Brendan Cox told Global News. “It’s not necessarily uncommon to find shot and left game species, especially at this time of year. But the large number of birds that we’re dealing with here makes it particularly concerning.”
The birds were found in odd circumstances. The Alberta Fish and Wildlife, which is investigating the incident, said meat was taken from 24 birds while the others were left untouched.
Although it’s legal to hunt geese until Dec. 21 in the area, it’s an offense under Canada’s Wildlife Act to abandon edible flesh of game species.
"An ethical hunter is somebody that knows and values our wildlife legislation and really does their utmost to make the most of any part of the animal that they are harvesting," Cox told CBC News. "When something is just shot and left, it's definitely a case of poaching."
The maximum penalty for leaving behind edible meat is a $50,000 fine and/or one year in jail. Alberta officials are asking the public to help track down those responsible for the incident. Fish and Wildlife officials are asking people to report any information by using its Report A Poacher line, 1-800-642-3800, or on their website.
As for the carcasses, Cox said he is not sure what will happen to the dead birds. However, in previous cases officers have tried to donate usable meat.