Saturday, 29 December 2012

Men fined $53,000 for damaging snake habitat

Can you imagine?
A hermit thrush who lives on the edge of the wetland.
I spotted it last spring.
Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. 
-Milan Kundera, novelist, playwright, and poet (b.1929) 

I often read the Ontario MNR News Releases. It isn't amusing and it is shocking. People with no respect for a wetland, or the critters that inhabit it.

pond puppy
There are many who violate not only common sense laws of the land, but the specific details. Thing is, the latest report is of these people sentenced in Parry Sound, but they live in south west Ontario. That is a distance of more than 460km (285 m)!

This latest report is of a pair who apply for a work permit in 2010 in spring, to build a trail across Crown Land. They are denied the permit. The reason is that this land contains an endangered species, including the eastern fox snake. They are endangered because they are similar to rattle snakes, and people feel obliged to kill those. The thing is, there aren't just snakes, but many critters the snakes keep in check.

baby watersnake
They go ahead anyway, and on July 8th rent a backhoe and begin. The MNR issues a stop work order July 9th, which they violated. Back they were, July 12th they were reported and caught having done work all weekend. The fines are substantial. How dare they? An enormous lack of understanding of habitat, the importance of ecosystems, and the cycle and the balance of life.

 Paul VanErp, of Bothwell, Ontario, and Kyle VanDeven, of
Kerwood, Ontario, were convicted and fined a total of $53,000 for offenses under the Endangered Species Act and the Public Lands Act.

Justice of the Peace Diane Lafleur heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound on October 22, 2012.

The fines for VanErp:

  • $20,000 for damaging endangered species habitat
  • $8,000 for constructing a trail on Crown land without a permit
  • red snake
  • $5,000 for violating a stop work order. 
The fine for VanDeven:
  • $12,000 for damaging endangered species habitat
  • $4,000 for constructing a trail on Crown land
  • $4,000 for violating a stop work order. 

dock spider

Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf and take an insect view of its plain. 
-Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

garter snake
To report a natural resources violation call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free any time or contacting your local ministry office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).


Red said...

We're a sad bunch when it comes to destroying habitat and saving it.
When I left the farm there was still some native habitat. I asked my Dad to save one of my favorite patches. I came back one time and it was gone. It was was one of the sadder parts of my life.

Judy said...

Some people are just idiots! Did they really think no one would notice? They must have money to burn!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Glad to see the law has some teeth in it.