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Canada National Parks Busted A Quebecer For Stealing 45 Fossils & Fined Him $20K

And an additional five months of house arrest!

Associate Editor
People sitting atop a mountain facing Lake Louise, Alberta, Right: Burgess Shale fossil from Kootenay National Park.

People sitting atop a mountain facing Lake Louise, Alberta, Right: Burgess Shale fossil from Kootenay National Park.

While travel laws in Canada have changed, that doesn't mean all laws have... Especially if you're venturing off to any of Canada's National Parks.

A Quebec resident is currently getting quite the surprise following a 2020 trip to the West Coast of Canada. The individual's travels included an itinerary full of activities, including the illegal removal of over 45 fossils from three different Canadian National Parks.

Parks Canada stated they investigated the issue following a tip from a member of the public, who told the federal agency that an individual took fossils from Burgess Shale — a highly recognized worldwide fossil site.

The Quebecer, who remains unidentified to the public, went on to illegally remove a total of 45 fossils from three national parks across British Columbia and Alberta, resulting in quite the hefty penalty.

The individual responsible was fined a whopping $20,000 and a five-month conditional house arrest order. Oh, and of course, they were ordered to forfeit the stolen fossils.

The Quebec resident was caught after Parks Canada wardens from La Mauricie National Park, Quebec Waterways, and the Longueuil Police secured a search warrant.

They had entered a private residence in the Montreal area back in November 2020 where the federal agents discovered the stolen fossils from sites within Kootenay, Yoho, and Jasper national parks.

Parks Canada stated that this "is the largest fine that has been levied to date for the removal of fossils from the Burgess Shale, and demonstrates the seriousness of the offence and the importance of this site."

The money from the fine will be going to the Environmental Damages Fund and will be used to support further projects that restore nature and conserve wildlife and habitats, Parks Canada said.

It appears as if the saying "look but don't touch" really comes into play here, but perhaps a $20,000 reminder is all it takes sometimes.

This article’s left-hand cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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