Military personnel accused of killing and possessing endangered caribou in Alert
Species at Risk Act charges stem from September 2021 incident
Two Canadian Forces personnel face federal Species at Risk Act charges related to the destruction and possession of an endangered caribou at Canada’s northernmost military station.
The Department of National Defence is also named in the charges, which stem from an investigation led by enforcement officers with Environment and Climate Change Canada.
The incident is alleged to have occurred on Sept. 10, 2021, in Alert, said Samuel Lafontaine, spokesperson for Environment and Climate Change Canada.
The Department of National Defence declined to comment, saying the matter is before the courts.
Maj. Benoit Carbonneau and Master Warrant Officer Yan Senechal, as well as the Department of National Defence, are scheduled to have their first appearances Thursday at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit.
Carbonneau was the commanding officer of Canadian Forces Base Alert from July to December 2021, according to an October 2021 article in Canadian Military Family magazine.
An airborne electronic sensor operator named Yan Senechal was stationed in Alert from May to November 2021, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Alert sits at the northernmost tip of Ellesmere Island, 817 kilometres south of the North Pole. It’s been continuously inhabited since 1950.
Peary caribou are the smallest North American caribou herd. Their range extends across N.W.T. and Nunavut’s High Arctic islands, according to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
They were listed under the Species at Risk Act as endangered in 2011 but reassessed as threatened earlier this year.
Environment and Climate Change Canada estimates there are currently 13,200 mature Peary caribou in the wild, down from an estimated 22,000 in 1987.