RCMP investigating Central Park 'ducknapping'

Burnaby RCMP are investigating a case of ducknapping, after a man is alleged to have run a-fowl of the law at Central Park on Sunday.

A witness reported the incident to Burnaby Mounties at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 8 as a complaint of a suspicious person. A poster up at the park on earlier this week states the incident happened at 9 a.m. at the park's "north lake."

According to the police report, the witness saw a man "befriending a group of ducks at the pond in the park," said Staff Sgt. Major John Buis.

He was coaxing ducks to him with food and when one got close enough, he grabbed it and shoved it into a duffle bag or backpack before running towards the parking lot at Boundary Road.

The suspect is described as an Asian male, in his 20s, five-foot-seven, with dark hair and a slim build. He was wearing a blue windbreaker and dark pants at the time.

"We're looking for any assistance we can get from people," said Buis.

While the offence would not come under the Criminal Code, it does violate regulations of all three levels of government.

"Generally speaking, management of wildlife or birds is under provincial jurisdiction, under the Wildlife Act," said Burnaby environmental services officer Christine Ensing by email.

However, under the Burnaby Parks Regulation Bylaw, "No person shall molest, disturb, frighten, injure, trap or snare any bird or animal, or fish in any lake or stream in any park without special permission of the administrator."

Such a violation would be subject to a fine of up to $2,000.

Buis said the BC Ministry of Environment's conservation officer service is also looking into the case after being notified by RCMP.

Under the BC Wildlife Act, a person is prohibited from attempting to capture wildlife or having live wildlife in their possession without authorization. If convicted on a first offence, a person would face a fine of up to $100,000, up to a year in prison, or both, according to the environment ministry.

The theft of a migratory bird, such as a duck, would then be subject to the federal Migratory Bird Convention Act, which is enforced by both the environment ministry and Environment Canada.

In such a case, unauthorized possession of a migratory bird or nest faces a fine of up to $1 million, up to three years in prison, or both.

"We do encourage people to call police" if they see such an incident, said Buis.

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