Conservation officers in Fort St. John say a flurry of public tips has them zeroing in on a suspect seen in a video jumping on and riding a moose trying to cross a northern lake.
David Vince says officers have received several “solid tips” since the video was posted to YouTube and went viral across the continent on Monday racking up more than 700,000 views. A full-time investigator has been assigned to the case,
“Based on our tips, we’re confident that we’re going to bring some people to task on it,” Vince said Tuesday morning.
He added: “We haven’t had this much public support pretty much for any file, but this one here we’re getting scads of phone calls.”
Investigators have so far traced the incident to Tuchodi Lake, about 145 kilometres southwest of Fort Nelson in the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area, and believe it to have taken place last July.
The video shows a boat approaching a lone cow moose trying to cross the lake. The boat gets close enough for a man to jump on the moose, which quickly changes directions in an attempt to run to shore.
“She’s just terrified of this incident. Normally they would turn on you and protect themselves,” said Vince.
“I myself have experienced and seen elk and moose crossing rivers, it’s a beautiful sight. You really come close to nature because you can watch them swim, and usually they have their little ones with them or it’s a whole herd.
“But, to actually physically chase that animal up the lake until they could get into deeper water to make her swim, I’ve never seen anything like that, ever,” he said.
According to a report in the Calgary Sun, the video was posted to YouTube by Wolf Tracker B.C., an “outdoor enthusiast” who asked to remain anonymous, and who captured the video from Facebook along with several other similar clips.
Those clips, along with names and links to Facebook profiles were preserved for evidence, according the Sun report.
Under the provincial Wildlife Act, harassment of wildlife can come with a fine of up to $100,000 or a year in jail, or both.
Vince is asking anyone with information to call 1-877-952-7277.
“We’d really like the people involved to come forward, pony up and say. ‘Listen, I did this, let’s not waste anymore of the COs time, let’s just deal with what I’ve done,'” Vince said.