OTTAWA – The killing of a rare white “spirit” moose, considered to be sacred by some Canadian aboriginal groups, sparked outrage Thursday.
But the hunters at the center of the controversy said they had been unaware of its significance and are trying to make amends.
The animal was shot last week in Nova Scotia. It was brought to Hnatiuk’s Hunting & Fishing Ltd. in the town of Lantz, which snapped a photo of the carcass and posted it on its Facebook page. The page received 10,000 hits within three days as news of the animal’s death went viral, with online postings berating the hunters as “idiots” and “ignorant” with “no respect or common sense.”
The three local hunters, whose names were withheld, have apologized to the area’s Mi’kmaq tribe and agreed to hand over the hide for a ceremony to honor the animal and dispel a curse. The ceremony is planned for next week and could last several days. The hunters will keep the bull moose’s head as a trophy.
White moose are not legally protected, but they are very rare. Officials said the moose was probably a partial albino, based on photographs.