“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.”– Parks Canada
Back in the summer of 2020, national park wardens situated in Lake Louise, Canada received a public tip that many fossils had been stolen from the Burgess Shale. National Parks Traveler reports that they found the individual and the rocks in November of 2020. The individual from Montreal, whose identity has not been revealed, pleaded guilty to the two charges and was recently sentenced to a five-month conditional sentence with a curfew order. The person was also fined $20,000, or around $15,000 in U.S. Dollars. The offenses that the individual plead guilty to were “removing natural objects and unlawfully trafficking in wild animals by transporting them.” The charges came from the Canada National Parks Act and National Park General Regulations, which aim to punish individuals who steal or hurt living or dead animals, which includes fossils.
Forty-five Fossils were recovered thanks to a joint effort by Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Longueuil Police Department, ROM, and Parks Canada park wardens. Most of the fossils were from the Burgess Shale Marble Canyon Quarry, but some were also stolen from Kootenay National Park, Yoho National Park, and Jasper National Park. Since its discovery in 1909, the Burgess Shale in Yoho was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980 for its impressive collection of fossils. In 2012, researchers discovered the Burgess Shale Marble Canyon Quarry in Kootenay National Park, which you can check out in the video down below. The site is private and requires a research permit to enter.