Ross Brooks

Nova Scotia's Sacred Albino Moose Killed by Visiting Hunters

by , 10/16/13
filed under: Animals, News

Mi'kmaq, Unamaki Institute of Natural Resources, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Highlands, Canada, Sacred Animal, Spirit Animal, White Moose, Albino Moose, Hunters, Trophy Head, Taxidermy,

Three hunters have sparked outrage both online and amongst the indigenous Mi’kmaq people of Nova Scotia by killing a rare albino moose that is considered sacred. The three unnamed hunters were unaware of the animal’s spiritual significance when they killed it in the Cape Breton Highlands of Nova Scotia, Canada. It was only after photos caused a backlash on Facebook (which have since been taken down) that the trio realized the gravity of their mistake.

Mi'kmaq, Unamaki Institute of Natural Resources, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Highlands, Canada, Sacred Animal, Spirit Animal, White Moose, Albino Moose, Hunters, Trophy Head, Taxidermy,

The Mi’kmaq people consider all white animals to be “spirit” animals and have known about the moose for years, but refrained from harming it due to its significance within the community. Clifford Paul, moose management co-ordinator for the Unamaki Institute of Natural Resources highlighted what the animals mean to the aboriginal people when he spoke with CBC:

“We know the significance and we’ve been teaching that to the non-native population for almost 500 years — about the importance that this and other white animals played in our lives,” he said. “We are not to harm them in any way, shape, or form because they could be one of our ancestors coming to remind us of something significant that’s going to happen within our communities.”

Jim Hnatiuks, who runs a hunting and taxidermy store in Lantz, informed the hunters of their transgression when they brought the carcass into his store. He has also expressed regret on behalf of the hunters, saying that:

“These are good men and they broke no law, and they have expressed that it would have been nice to have known more about the significance of these white moose. Hopefully through this, many are much more informed and, this provides the catalyst for more to be done.”

As reported by AFP, locals also consider it bad luck to kill white animals, which led to the hunters returning the moose hide to the Mi’kmaq people, allowing them to perform a four day ceremony to honor the animal. While this may be enough to ease the outrage of some, it doesn’t quite explain why the hunters have kept the sacred moose’s head as a trophy.

Via TreeHugger

Images by Hnatiuks Hunting Fishing Ltd.

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  1. wfwfwf October 26, 2013 at 1:04 am

    \”and a cultural myth from the local people should not be a objective criteria…\”

    you mean like the bible, and how doesn\’t set any precedences.

  2. eshaines October 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    What was the point of killing the animal in the first place? For sport? I thought a sport was a game that BOTH SIDES know they’re playing. What heartless low-lives, and heartless too are the millions more who practice any form of game hunting, especially of such delicate and innocent creatures.

  3. Mrjazzitup October 17, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I realize these hunters probably shot the moose for its rarity since it is an albino but it is irrelevant that the aboriginal people think it possesses spirits and has some sort of objective importance other than its white color. A white moose is no different than a brown or black moose, it just has a genetic variation which makes the hair have a different color or its skin pigments absorb different frequency of the light.

    Stop confusing a rare type of animal with ones that are endangered (bald eagles) or those that do not exist(unicorns). These guys just shot the animal for its cache value and whether they knew what they were doing is irrelevant. They were acting legally and a cultural myth from the local people should not be a objective criteria whether to hunt this specific type of animal or not.

    And seriously, you want these guys to fend themselves off against wolves in order to what, to satisfy your appetite for torture and killing? Why, so your psychopathic yearnings can be fulfilled? To the other commentator, whether you are killing for sport or for food or how you get your meat is completely irrelevant to this article and the discussion ensuing; these are all separate issues which you have completely mixed together.

    All I find in these comments sections are a mish mash of non-sequiturs and appeal to emotion.

  4. Alan Serpa October 16, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    These hunters are not good men at all they are heartless and ignorant people who need to disappear off the face of this planet. There is not need to do this anymore and how would they like to be hunted. This is just a shame.

  5. Agris Godins October 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm


  6. Mary Harless-Baker October 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    A true hunter realizes that a white animal should not be killed by the very fact the animal is white! How difficult is it to shoot an animal that cannot camouflage themselves to their natural environment? Shame on these men!

  7. stringrrl October 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    If they were “visiting hunters,” did they not require a permit to hunt on those lands? if so, shouldn’t the agency that issues those permits educate the hunters they issue permits to? So sad, and so senseless. I do not fault the hunters, per se. But I do believe the hunters should be educated about these things, somehow. I mean, EVERYONE knows it is ILLEGAL to kill a Bald Eagle in the US.

  8. Cindy Tozier October 16, 2013 at 11:28 am

    How very sad for all involved, the hunters should have had been given some instruction about the area and the animals that are considered sacred to the indigenous people.

  9. Alexandru Gheorghe October 16, 2013 at 11:05 am

    morons…that should be left alone with a pack o woulfs…I\\\’d like some photos of that please.

  10. Cathy Dain October 16, 2013 at 10:26 am

    ugh. this just leaves me feeling ill. i’m saddened by any hunting for sport. i’m not sure how anyone could kill a living thing if it isn’t for food (and even that.. i prefer it to be a traditional or necessary reason). probably these are good men who were raised with hunting, and they had remorse and respect for the Mi’kmaq people. still, i’m sad. i’m glad the men did the right thing after, and attempted to make amends.

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