Poachers Make Off With 800-Year-Old Red Cedar

Tree poachers have made off with a giant 800-year-old red cedar tree, which used to reside in a park on southern Vancouver Island, Canada.

Although the poachers made repeated trips to and from the site, they may never be caught.

Torrance Coste of the Wilderness Committee found the stump of the ancient tree in Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park, a remote area that recent park budget cuts have caused to be monitored less.

Huffington Post reports that Coste commented:

“Whoever’s doing this knows that no one’s going to have eyes on this park for months at a time so it’s exceptionally easy to do what they’ve done.”

He went on to say that:

“I believe the poachers have access to heavy-duty equipment. Firewood salvagers in pickup trucks can’t handle trees this size.”

According to The Windsor Star, the tree’s destruction began a year ago, when a park patrol found it had been cut almost 80 percent through. Andy Macdonald, B.C. Parks west coast regional section head stated:

“It’s hard to say why it was cut like that and just left. It created a hazard to public safety and park safety. There was no other option than to hire a professional faller to complete the job.”

The tree was then left to decompose and provide a habitat for the surrounding area. Coste assumes that the same person who cut the tree hauled portions of it away over several weeks. He stated:

“The trunk has been hauled out, cut up and taken away, presumably to be further processed and sold.”

The Windsor Star reports that B.C. Environment Ministry spokesman Suntanu Dalal told reporters that illegal tree poaching is not a normal occurrence, however it can happen. Dalal stated:

“There are trees that are targeted and removed for their specific value, which can vary from basic firewood to curly maple used to make fine musical instruments or cedar used for shake blocks. Regional B.C. Parks rangers work with other provincial enforcement agencies to investigate tree removal theft and damage.”