A traffic court has convicted a driver of hitting two ducks on the Malahat last year, killing one and injuring another.
On June 16, 2013 drivers on the Malahat came to halt as a group of baby ducklings and their mother crossed the Trans-Canada Highway. The ducks were taking their time and traffic became quite backed up, by about two kilometres.
At some point a driver, in an uninsured vehicle and under the influence of alcohol, decided they had had enough and started passing the row of cars on the right-hand shoulder, clipping a number of side-view mirrors in the process.
When the driver reached the ducks, they did not stop, and ended up killing one of the ducks and injuring another.
West Shore RCMP ticketed the driver for passing on the right and driving without insurance, and also issued a 90-day roadside suspension for driving under the influence of alcohol.
The court charge of harassing wildlife fell under the Wildlife Act, with the driver given a $345 fine. RCMP Sgt. Max Fossum said the charge is a rare one, but important nonetheless.
“It could have been easily a kid crossing or it could have easily been a hitchhiker,” he said. “It just shows you have to be cautious of wildlife. We’re living in an area with wildlife and birds and everything else and we have to respect that.”
A witness took the injured duckling and gave it to an RCMP officer, who took it to the SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Metchosin.
The bird was nursed back to health and released, at an estimated cost of $1,700.