A Portuguese émigré has been charged with illegal hunting after being secretly filmed trying to corral a deer as it was swimming.
Rodolfo Martins Lopes is understood to be denying the charges, but with animal conservation sensitivity running high in the wake of the brutal killing of Zimbabwean lion Cecil all eyes will be on his next court appearance, due to take place on September 1.
As Canada’s Globe and Mail explains, Lopes and a British Columbia fishing guide “face several charges over allegations that they tried to catch a deer while it was swimming in the Douglas Channel, on the northern coast.
“Both men face one criminal charge each of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal, while they are also accused of three charges under the Wildlife Act, including harassing wildlife with a motor vehicle, hunting big game while it is swimming and hunting wildlife during the closed season.”
Conservation officer Ryan Gordon said the men are alleged to have used their boat in an attempt to corral and capture the deer.
“We don’t know if the deer has been killed or not,” he stressed, explaining the case only came to light after amateur film footage was posted on social media.
The Globe and Mail report that Lopes’ lawyer Don Sorochan claims the deer escaped unharmed by swimming off and returning to the woods.
What is intriguing is that Sorochan is quoted as saying his client is now back in Portugal. Whether Lopes will be returning to Canada to face his trial remains to be seen.