07/09/2014 04:46 EDT | Updated 09/08/2014 05:59 EDT

Alberta Wildlife Poaching: 10 People Face 323 Charges

Douglas Brown/Flickr
We were walking down a path to Lake Ekultna with Sailor when a Black Bear appeared out of nowhere. Sailor's second wildlife encounter in the last week. First a young Moose and now a young Black Bear! He barked once and was quiet. Fortunately, we had already decided to have Sailor on a 50' retractable leash since there was a serious bear mauling in this exact area just a few days ago. Nothing worse than a loose dog bringing an enraged bear back to you in the woods! :) This young bear was very cautious around us and went out of his way to increase the space between us. However, as he was moving away, he was also chowing down on Dandelions so as not to waste a food gathering opportunity! I attached a second photo of him below with Dandelion stalks hanging out of his mouth. Very cute...
EDSON, Alta. - Alberta has charged 10 people in the illegal killing of dozens of wild animals that were shot and left to rot on the ground west of Edmonton.

The Justice Department says the accused face 323 poaching-related charges under the provincial Wildlife Act.

The 36 animals that were killed included deer, moose, elk and a black bear.

The carcasses were found last November in the Edson area.

The accused are to appear in Edson provincial court on Aug. 5.

Last fall the Alberta Fish and Game Association called the killings deplorable and said the province needs more wildlife officers and tougher penalties for people convicted of poaching.

Investigators say tips from the public helped them identify suspects.

"I want to thank everyone who helped conclude this investigation by calling in tips," Justice Minister Jonathan Denis said Wednesday in a release.

"Poaching is a significant crime in Alberta and charges like these show how serious we are about protecting our province's fish and wildlife resources."

The accused include Derek Brown, Colton Campbell, Michaela Scott, Devan Dozorec and Tiffany Brown, who together face 204 counts.

The other accused in the case can't be named because they are either under 18 or were under 18 at the time of the alleged offences.

The Alberta Conservation Association estimates that fewer than 10 per cent of poaching cases in the province are detected.

The top five poached mammals in Alberta are deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep and bears.

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