In the Flying Post reserve in northern Ontario, Canada, elk with white coats have a special aura. Rare, they are considered sacred by the members of the First Nations. Some even call them “spirits”. This is why the death of one of these creatures, killed by hunters, sparked outrage.
In fact, two moose were shot, but only one was white. Their remains, including their heads, were discovered along an isolated service road, according to Guardian reports. The surrounding indigenous communities were so shocked that a resident, Troy Woodhouse, decided to offer a reward of 1,000 Canadian dollars to anyone who could help authorities apprehend those responsible. His initiative has been emulated and successive donations have peaked the pot at 8,000 Canadian dollars.
Legends abound with white, ghostly animals that local culture forbids killing. “Everyone is outraged and sad,” said Murray Ray, Chief of the Flying Post First Nation. Why shoot this animal? If you have a license to kill a moose, you can choose a different one. Leave those who have white coats alone ”.
Contrary to what one might think, these rare pristine animals are not albinos. They owe their color to a recessive gene. The phenomenon is also observed in some bison, crows or grizzly bears. Regardless of the species, these ghost animals are considered sacred in this region of Canada.
A specific law, which does not exist anywhere else in the country, has even been written to protect Ontario’s white moose. They are not a separate species, but throughout the region there are signs warning hunters and prohibiting their killing.
In 2013, a white elk was killed in the province of Nova Scotia, angering the Mi’kmaq people. Officials had returned the animal’s skin to this community so that a multi-day ceremony could be celebrated in its honor. The residents of the Flying Post hope those who shot down their “moose-spirit” will do the same.
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