British Columbia

Ministry of Environment office in Kamloops inundated with dead animals

Members of the public consistently bring dead animals to the Ministry of Environment office in Kamloops, B.C., and even if people have the right intentions, the ministry wants the public to know it is not the right move.

The freezers contain rattlesnakes, beavers and other wildlife corpses

A sign on the Ministry of Enviroment's office door reiterates that dead animals are not to brought inside. (Jude Sterling)

Jude Sterling came into work this week to find a dead rattlesnake waiting for her in a cardboard box. It went right into the office freezer, on top of a gopher snake and a dead beaver.

Sterling is a community liaison for B.C. Parks and works at the Ministry of Environment office in Kamloops. She told CBC's Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce that dead animals are dropped off regularly at her place of work — so often that the office has five freezers nearly filled with wildlife corpses. And Sterling and her colleagues would like it to stop.

Sterling understands that people have good intentions and think it makes sense to bring an animal they find to the ministry for answers about its death but wants the public to know it is actually a risky move to make.

Rattlesnakes, like this dead one that was dropped off at the Ministry of Environment office in Kamloops in May, may look terrifying, but are actually more afraid of people than we are of them, says a Lethbridge naturalist. (Alan Hobler)

Dead rattlesnakes can still bite

Sterling said moving a dead animal can spread disease. She also told Joyce that some animals might appear dead but are actually just stunned and people can put themselves at risk handling them. And, according to Sterling, a rattlesnake can still have bite reflexes after it is clinically dead.

The constant influx of dead wildlife also makes it a challenge to conduct business as usual.

For example, Sterling recalled a time when she was in an important meeting and out the window could see parts of a moose carcass being unloaded from the back of a pickup truck.

Sterling said she just hoped no one else in the meeting would turn around and notice the dead moose delivery happening in the parking lot.

And so due to health risks and the general chaos dead carcasses can bring, visitors to the local ministry office are now greeted with a sign that says: "Stop, do not bring dead animals into this building."

If people find a dead animal in the wild, Sterling says they should take pictures and call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277. 

Jude Sterling, B.C. Parks community liaison officer, on the number of dead animals that are brought to the Ministry of Environment's Kamloop's office and why people need to stop. 5:33

Daybreak Kamloops


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