Lodge in Banff National Park receives $27,000 fine for destroying birds’ nests

Barn swallow on nest [Shutterstock]

The Canadian Government has fined a Lake Louise lodge $27,000 for removing and destroying four birds’ nests.

In August 2016, officers from Parks Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada conducted an inspection into the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge after receiving a report about the nests. They found that the lodge, which is located Banff National Park, had removed one barn swallow egg and four barn swallow nests, violating regulations around migratory birds and the Canada National Parks Act, as well as the conditions of their National Parks of Canada lease.

Barn swallows are listed as a threatened species in Canada, and under the Migratory Birds Act, it is illegal to injure, kill, or harass them or to remove their eggs or nests without a permit.

Barn swallow
Barn swallows spend summers in Canada and winters Central and South America in August. The peak season to see them flying over Canada is in August. [Photo credit: JJ Cadiz, Wikimedia Commons]

The lodge pleaded guilty to the offenses. Not only did the company receive a fine, but it was added to the Environmental Offenders Registry and ordered to write an article about the incident, to be published in a local newspaper. The fine itself will be paid to Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund, which funds projects that benefit the environment.

This isn’t the first time the government has imposed heavy penalties on a business for damaging or destroying threatened wildlife. Here are a few more cases of the government getting tough on businesses that damaged wildlife and their habitats.

An Alberta ski resort that cut down endangered trees

In December of 2017, a ski resort, also in Banff National Park, pleaded guilty to destroying 39 whitebark pine trees, which are listed under the Species At Risk Act. Their fine has not yet been determined, but under the Act, they can be charged up to $300,000 per tree.

The energy company whose gas flare killed 7,500 songbirds

Canaport LNG, a liquid natural gas company, killed 7,500 migratory birds with a burning natural gas flare. The birds were drawn to the flare in foggy weather and were burned by the incredibly hot flare. A similar incident had killed up to 200 birds two weeks earlier, but Canaport was found to have taken no action to minimize risk. They were charged a $750,000 penalty and ordered to mointor bird migration forecasts and to take actions to mitigate mortality of migrating birds.

The oilsands company who polluted a pond, killing 1,600 waterfowl

In 2008, over 1,600 waterfowl were found dead in the Aurora Settling Basin near Fort McMurray in Alberta. In 2010, after an investigation, Syncrude Canada was found guilty of depositing hazardous substances in waters frequented by birds and fined a whopping $3 million, including a $500,000 fine that was the maximum possible under Alberta’s Environmental Protection Act. This half-million dollars was put towards creating a bird protection program, integrated with indigenous training, at Alberta’s Keyano College.

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