WARNING the second photo in the gallery shows the dead beaver.
A group of destructive and disrespectful partiers destroyed a Peachland area park and killed wild animals.
BC Conservation Officer Sgt. Jim Beck says they received complaints on their RAPP line (Report all Poachers and Polluters) of 40 or so party goers shooting guns and destroying an area of Headwaters Lake #1 on the weekend.
Beck says the next day a group of concerned citizens went to clean-up the mess and discovered a gruesome scene including shot song birds, a skinned beaver, a substantial amount of garbage and a damaged District of Summerland gate.
“I don’t know why someone would do this,” sighed Beck. “It was likely a group of individuals that have little if any respect for nature. A lot of garbage was left behind, this beaver was just killed and amateurishly skinned, the song birds were just shot and left.”
Pictures taken by the good Samaritan clean-up crew show the beaver suffered a bullet hole and its pelt and tail had been removed.
Beck says that by the time his officer arrived on the scene the beaver pelt was already gone, likely taken by coyote or bear, but they believe they still found some good clues to find the culprits.
“The people that reported it were kind to clean up a lot of the garbage and mess that was left behind but within the material they collected we do have a couple of items that do have good evidentiary value and we have a couple of leads that we are going to be following up on,” said Beck.
The West Kelowna RCMP have also opened a file on the matter because of the significant damage to the district gate. Once the two agencies find those responsible they could face several charges and fines.
“Just the killing of the beaver and the song birds is an offence under the Wildlife Act and carries a minimum penalty of $345 or a court imposed fine which could be quite a bit higher,” explained Beck.
He says that the May long weekend is traditionally a bad time for the non-outdoorsy to come use the outdoors and they often create havoc and cause damage.
“They aren't hunters or fisherman or campers that enjoy the outdoors. They are just here to go out into the rural areas and party and just carry on without the rules they feel don't apply to them,” says Beck. “It is unfortunate these types of people come out and choose to kill things, be disruptive, cause damage and leave their garbage behind.”
As to why a group would skin a beaver or shoot song birds, Beck doesn't have a explanation.
“I have no idea what motivates people to do this, it is very disturbing that we do have a small section of our population that chooses to do these sorts of things.”
Headwaters Family Resort Owner Donna Jackson spoke to Castanet giving thanks to those who cleaned up the mess and sharing disgust for the culprits and their lack of respect for Mother Nature.
“Oh my gosh, how dangerous and stupid is that? Drinking, driving and using high-powered rifles?,” said Jackson in disgust. “These freaking idiots need to be caught and charged!"
Jackson says the group included young adults (from teens to early thirties) she says she feared for guests staying in her campground.
“I had a campground full of people including little kids, kids on quads and I had to tell them, ‘Don’t leave the property you’re not safe.’”
Jackson added that she is frustrated her calls to police Friday went unanswered as the partiers were back in full force Saturday.
“Friday night it was guns, I drove down the mountain at 1 a.m. and I passed seven trucks driving up the mountain with guns out the windows, shooting into the forest and throwing beer cans,” says Jackson. “I am shocked no one died this weekend.”
Jackson and her neighbours (who asked to stay anonymous) say the area is a wonderful place for families and they want to preserve it.
They say the wrong people are starting to go up there and they are scaring families away.
“This is so scary for us because we have not experienced anything this bad before. It was very unnerving for all of us up there,” added Jackson.
Beck says BC Conservation is working with the West Kelowna RCMP and are determined to find those responsible and hold them accountable.
Anyone with information is asked to call West Kelowna RCMP or if you witnessed the poaching or any environmental infractions at this event or any other event you are asked to call the 24-hour RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.