Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut January 17, 2017 - 8:30 am

Canadian Ranger faces charges for Nunavut caribou harvesting

Court documents show two Rangers present when Baffin caribou shot

STEVE DUCHARME
A caribou legally harvested near Tarr Inlet, about 10 years ago, when the species still thrived on Baffin Island. Canadian Ranger Michael Irngaut of Igloolik currently faces illegal harvesting charges for taking a caribou in February 2015 when caribou hunting was temporarily banned on Baffin Island due to drastically low herd numbers. (FILE PHOTO)
A caribou legally harvested near Tarr Inlet, about 10 years ago, when the species still thrived on Baffin Island. Canadian Ranger Michael Irngaut of Igloolik currently faces illegal harvesting charges for taking a caribou in February 2015 when caribou hunting was temporarily banned on Baffin Island due to drastically low herd numbers. (FILE PHOTO)

An Igloolik man facing charges for illegally harvesting a Baffin Island caribou during a government hunting ban in 2015 committed the act while performing his duties as a Canadian Ranger, newly submitted court documents reveal.

Michael Irngaut—facing two counts under the Nunavut Wildlife Act—was travelling in an official capacity as a Canadian Ranger from Mary River to Igloolik when he shot and harvested a caribou near Neergaard Lake, about 200 kilometres northeast of Igloolik on Baffin Island, Feb. 15, 2015.

That’s according to an agreed statement of facts submitted by lawyers Jan. 9 to Nunavut’s Court of Justice in Iqaluit.

That court documents say another Canadian Ranger, Sgt. George Qattalik—also from Igloolik—along with Qattalik’s wife and one other person, accompanied Irngaut during the trip and were present during the hunt.

The harvest was deemed illegal by conservation officers because a Government of Nunavut-imposed moratorium on harvesting Baffin Island caribou had been in place since Jan. 1, 2015.

According to the statement of facts, Irngaut and his companions, “ate much of the caribou” shortly after killing the animal, “and discarded some parts of it.”

Irngaut apparently didn’t try to hide his actions: He kept the caribou hide and provided it to the Igloolik conservation officer on his return to the community, Feb. 24, 2015.

Four months later, in June, Irngaut was charged under sections 69 and 85(1) and (2) of Nunavut’s Wildlife Act for harvesting an animal contrary to regulation and for possessing an unlawfully harvested pelt.

Convictions for individuals under this act can produce fines of up to $500,000, six months in jail, or both.

The GN lifted its moratorium on Baffin Island caribou harvesting in August 2015, replacing it with a modest quota of 250.

But Baffin caribou herds continue to suffer from dismally low numbers which, according to GN surveys, have plummeted to a few thousand animals.

That’s a huge decline from figures recorded in 1991 which estimated the herd contained about 235,000 animals.

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