December 20, 2011
Five BC Bighorns Dead: Work of Wildlife Serial Killer?
By Chad Love
Someone is killing British Columbia's bighorn sheep, and wildlife officers have no idea why.
From this story in the Globe and Mail:
In his 26 years as a conservation officer, Steve Wasylik says he's never before seen the brazen thrill-killing that has recently targeted bighorn sheep near Kamloops. "There was simply no effort to recover the animals," Mr. Wasylik said. "They weren't trophy animals." Over the past week, five Californian bighorn sheep have been shot dead in two separate incidents. Two rams were found near Lytton, about 150 kilometres southwest of Kamloops, on Dec. 13. The second incident occurred three days later, when two rams and a ewe were found shot dead on a ranch in the Big Bar area near Clinton, 120 kilometres northwest of Kamloops. There have been no further reported incidents.
"I'm an avid hunter and I don't just go out and shoot anything, and I think it's rare to find someone who has the mentality to think that it's okay to jump in a truck and go shoot a few things," Mr. Wasylik said. "If these two incidents aren't connected, then it's disturbing that there's that many [irresponsible] people out there." Mr. Wasylik said although bighorn sheep are not an endangered species, just two hunting licences are raffled off once a year, allowing hunters to kill only one adult ram between the months of September and October. The two incidents have baffled conservation officers. Not only were the sheep left untouched where they fell, Mr. Wasylik said the animals are very difficult to hunt. He said deer would be easier to hunt because there are more of them and they're easier to reach.
Thoughts? Do you think there's such a thing as (for lack of a better term) a wildlife serial killer? Someone whose urge to kill manifests itself in wantonly and randomly killing wildlife? Do you think most chronic poachers would fall under that description?