Anticosti Island left unguarded

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L’ile d’Anticosti left ;e without surveillance

Deer hunting attracts many visitors to the Anticosti Island every year (archives).

Renowned for game thanks to its population of white-tailed deer, Anticosti Island was left unsupervised by the Protection de la faune du Québec throughout the 2022 hunting season.

According to information obtained by Radio-Canada, no agent has set foot there since July.

This means that no prevention or control operation has been carried out in the field with hunters since the opening of the hunt on September 1st. The season will end no later than next week, December 24.

According to the Syndicat des agents de protection de la faune du Québec, the reports received at the Côte-Nord regional office were handled remotely rather than by officers on site. In one particular case, the carcass of an illegally killed deer had to be repatriated by a private citizen.

Wildlife protection officers are considered peace officers and are responsible for enforcing the Act respecting the conservation and development of wildlife on the territory of Quebec.

The president of the union, Martin Perreault, denounces this situation and believes that this role belongs to the agents, whose mandate is to enforce the Act respecting the conservation and in wildlife value.

When we received the report, we were told not to go. They asked an employee of Sépaq [Quebec Outdoor Establishments Society] to seize the animal and bring it to dry land. They don't have the right to do that, he decides.

According to data from the Department of Wildlife, 6,300 white-tailed deer were taken last year. last year on Anticosti Island, where the animal density is 20.9 per square kilometer.

While he admits poaching is rare in Hunting Area 20, Mr. Perreault says there is plenty of job to be done from the approximately 2,000 to 3,000 hunters who visit the 8,000 square kilometer island each year.

Still according to the union, do not send staff to monitor the season hunting on Anticosti Island is exceptional.

Anticosti Island is popular with hunters for its large population of white-tailed deer. (Archives)

There was previously a permanence, explains Martin Perreault, but the latter was not filled after the departure of the agent stationed in Port-Menier. Since then, a rotation between different agents ensured a presence on the territory of Anticosti Island, in particular during the deer hunt.

There could be a day or two without an agent in the field, according to Mr. Perreault, but never for a full season as is the case this year. The latter also mentions that it is not a question of the will of the agents, on the contrary. Along with Kuujjuaq in Nunavik, he says, Anticosti Island is among the most popular destinations for temporary assignments.

The Ministry of the Environment, the Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks defends its decision by pleading for risk management. According to Wildlife Protection, Anticosti Island was not among the priorities for intervention.

For this fall, this decision stems, among other things, from the seriousness of the threats to wildlife in the context of Anticosti Island. Thus, in the current circumstances, the organization has favored the concentration of protection efforts in other more problematic areas, wrote a spokesperson by email, specifying in passing that it is not a question a question of budget.

The Wildlife Protection offices are located in Port-Menier (archives).

Officially, the ministry has declined to say whether it intends to send agents to the island anytime soon, for operational reasons. Wildlife Protection intends to continue its protection work on Anticosti Island and depending on the threats identified, it was only said.

Behind the scenes, a call for volunteers was made following Radio-Canada's request for information on the situation on Île d' Anticosti.

The Regional Directorate of Wildlife Protection of Quebec on the North Shore indeed sent a call to its agents, on December 12, to sound out their interest in a visit to the Anticosti Island between December 19 and December 21. A gesture described as unserious by the union, while the majority of hunters have already left the island.

The Society of Outdoor Establishments of Quebec (Sépaq), manager of an imposing outfitter on Anticosti Island, ensures its full cooperation despite the absence of protection officers wildlife this year.

Sépaq guides, park wardens or wildlife conservation assistants have a duty to denounce any act of poaching or illegal hunting they witness, recalls the door -word Simon Boivin. When irregularities are observed, they can be transmitted by telephone or email to the regional wildlife office to be dealt with by the competent authorities.

According to Mr. Boivin, cases of poaching or of illegal hunting observed by our employees are few.

In addition to Sépaq, a handful of private outfitters offer hunting experiences to visitors on Anticosti Island .

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