Two Canadian men charged with shooting animals at safari park

Two Canadian men have been charged with entering a safari park in Quebec and shooting three wild boar and an elk, brazen killings that have left staff at the family-themed park in shock.

Police say Mathieu Godard and Jeremiah Mathias-Polson broke through a barrier at Parc Omega on the evening of 10 November.

A security guard on duty at the time noticed a vehicle had illegally entered the park and alerted police. Moments later he heard gunshots.

“The police quickly arrived and located and intercepted a vehicle. Both men were arrested. Police found four animal carcasses inside the vehicle,” Quebec provincial police spokesperson Marc Tessier told the Canadian Press. Police also seized firearms from the vehicle.

The pair face charges including wilfully killing animals kept for a lawful purpose, breaking and entering, illegally transporting firearms and unlawfully firing a firearm during a break and enter.

The park, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north-west of Ottawa, is popular with families for its wide range of Canadian animals, including wolves, moose, elk, bison and caribou, that roam the fields and forests of the park. Visitors can drive a 12km route through the facility and feed many of the animals from their vehicles.

“We have put all the necessary efforts in place to ensure that this situation does not happen again, for everyone’s safety and for the safety of our precious animals,” an Omega park spokesperson, Billie-Prisca Giroux, said in a statement.

Godard, 47, works as a hunting guide and posted images on Facebook of a recent hunting trip in northern Ontario in the days before the incident.

Godard was released on bail on Monday and is barred from visiting the park. He is also prohibited from communicating with Mathias-Polson and from carrying a gun. He is also not allowed to consume drugs or alcohol. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Police say Mathias-Polson, 21, was on probation when he was arrested on November 10 and remains in custody in Hull, Quebec.