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 Posted in    |  on March 24th, 2017  |  by

Conservation officers warn public to stay out of Dutch Creek-Findlay Creek following discovery of deliberately laid fatal poison

Local conservation officers are warning the public to stay away from Dutch Creek-Findlay Creek area after confirming that somebody has been laying a lethal poison there.

Officers have confirmed and removed at least two batches of strychnine — a fatally toxic colourless, odorless, crystalline powder (which in this case was in solid format, sitting in white cupcake wrappers) — from area, which lies immediately to the west of Canal Flats, and have launched an ongoing investigation with assistance from the Columbia Valley RCMP.

“The area of concern is what is known locally as the powerline road, with runs north-south between Spur Lake Road and Findlay Forest Service Road,” Invermere conservation officer Greg Kruger told the Pioneer on Friday, March 24th.

About two weeks ago a valley residents was out walking with his dog in the area, when the dog began chewing a strange substance lying on the ground.
“He was able to quickly get it out of the dog’s mouth, but a short time after the dog began acting distressed and sick, and basically had seizure-like convulsions,” Mr. Kruger said.

The dog was rushed to a vet, where it was treated and later recovered, but the man was quite suspicious that the substance was some kind of poison. The conservation officers collected that substance, and a week later, while combing the area, found the same substance in a different location on the same road. They sent both samples to a testing lab, which confirmed the substance as strychnine on Thursday, March 23rd.

“It is quite toxic to and can easily be fatal to all animals, both domestic and wild. and to humans. The main way it takes effect is when it is ingested,” said Mr. Kruger. “There’s a high probability that there is going to be more strychnine in this area, so we are imploring the public to avoid this area. If you absolutely must go in, be extra vigilant, especially with small kids or with pets. This could be fatal for a child, and a dog running at large off leash would be a great risk.”

The officers have posted signs around the area warning of the danger, and in light of the active investigation are asking anybody with any information about the incident or potential suspects to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1 877 952 7277.

“We are searching the area throughly to try and find all the poison and get it out, but in the meantime it’s best to stay out altogether,” said Mr. Kruger. “It is a popular area for recreation and we are expecting more people to go there to start recreating with spring here and the snow melting — these people need to be careful.”
While Mr. Kruger could not go into too much detail about the investigation, he did say “we have our suspicions that people are specifically targeting wildlife, possibly wolves.” He could not say precisely why somebody might be trying to poison wolves “because at the moment we have multiple possible motives. This is really serious. It’s going to have far-reaching effects for all wildlife in the area.”

Mr. Kruger said that in the past “there have been suspicions of this type of activity, but never to this extent, and it has been been substantiated. This is substantiated.”

The Dutch Creek-Findlay Creek is known as place that has wolves, added Mr. Kruger.

Steve Hubrecht
Email: steve@columbiavalleypioneer.com
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Reporter Steve Hubrecht arrived in the Columbia Valley after working for newspapers in Fernie, B.C., and Beijing, China. He spends as much time outside as possible – if he's not at the Pioneer and Echo office, he's probably out telemarking or hiking. He grew up in southern Ontario and graduated with an MA in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario in 2006.

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