• David Beranek v. Regional Wildlife Manager

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    Decision Date: October 5, 1998

    Panel: Judith Lee

    Keywords: Wildlife Act – s. 19(1); Wildlife Act Permit Regulations – s. 1(1); Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks Policy Manual, Vol. 4, s. 7 (12.04)

    David Beranek appealed a decision of the Regional Wildlife Manager (the “Manager”) to deny him a permit to possess mountain sheep horns. Mr. Beranek found the exceptionally large horns on a carcass while conducting a government-approved, helicopter survey of sheep populations for his employer, a coal mining company. The permit was denied by the Manager on grounds that persons participating in a government approved survey should not profit from the opportunity to collect wildlife parts, to allow the permit would set a bad precedent, the aerial survey was interrupted to allow Mr. Beranek to land and collect the horns, and the collection was inappropriate given Mr. Beranek’s employment.

    The Panel found that a Ministry policy disallowing government employees from retaining wildlife parts found in the course of their employment did not apply to Mr. Beranek since the survey was privately funded. Further, the policy that prohibits granting of permit to possess when a similar permit has been issued within 5 years would negate any advantage that Mr. Beranek’s profession may give him. The Panel also found that concerns about setting a precedent are not persuasive since each case must be decided on its merits. On the evidence presented, the Panel found that the horns were picked up by consensus – and before Mr. Beranek expressed an interest in possessing them.

    Finally, the Manager added two additional reasons for denying the permit: (1) he didn’t know if the ram had been killed illegally, and (2) the monetary value of the horns which were estimated at over $3200. There was no evidence which would indicate illegal activity, therefore, this reason was rejected. Regarding the monetary value, the Panel found that this cannot, by itself, be a reason for refusal. If it is to be considered in special circumstances, it is up to MELP to provide reasons why that should be so. None were provided in this case and there was no indication that Mr. Beranek was intending to profit from the horns. The Panel allowed the appeal, and ordered that Mr. Beranek be granted a possession permit for the horns on condition that he not sell them for profit.