Warning: this video may be disturbing to some viewers.
Conservation authorities in Fort St. John, British Columbia, are looking for several people in connection to a controversial Facebook video featuring a man riding a swimming moose.
In the video, the men approach the nearby animal in a speedboat. When they get close enough, one of the men jumps off the boat and attempts to ride the moose while pumping his fist in the air. The others cheer him on for a few minutes before the animal escapes.
Since it’s initial appearance on Facebook, the video has been picked up by YouTube channel Wolftracker TV and viewed widely. Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of internet backlash and many are calling for the group of men to be punished for their abusive behaviour towards the animal.
The clip came to the attention of Sgt. David Vince of the Conservation Officer Service Monday morning. While officers have been able to identify some of the men in the video, they are working with Steve and Chris Wolfe, owners of Wolftracker TV, to track down the remaining participants. The Wolfes told the Toronto Star that they “do not know these people personally,” and are assisting the local conservation authorities in their investigation.
The actions of the men in the video are an offence under the B.C. wildlife act, which states that it is illegal to do anything to “worry, exhaust, fatigue, annoy, plague, pester, tease or torment” a wild animal. Consequently, the men involved in the video could face animal harassment charges.
The original Facebook post has since been deleted but the Wolfes provided the conservation officers with screen grabs. Although the post went up on June 20, the video appears to have been taken last July.
Sgt. Vince told the Star that he was very concerned with the men’s actions: “It’s extremely dangerous—it’s no rodeo stunt by any means. It certainly causes lots of stress on that animal, lots of stress.”