Local pilot catches heat for harassing wild animals

Emile Beaulieau made the video of him flying his fan-driven paraglider around the Okanagan late last year. In it, he can be seen skimming over rooftops and buzzing herds of wild deer and sheep.
Image Credit: YouTube

KELOWNA – A YouTube video of a Kelowna man flying his paramotor around the Okanagan may have attracted more attention than he wanted.

Emile Beaulieau made the video of him flying his fan-driven paraglider around the Okanagan late last year. In it, he can be seen skimming over rooftops and buzzing herds of wild deer and sheep.

The video has since been made private but a local flying enthusiast says the damage has already been done.

“What I saw was a complete disrespect for the regulations that we have to follow,” says Greg Penner, a free-flying enthusiast for 16 years. “It’s disrespectful to the rest of the flying community in the Okanagan who do follow the rules and regulations. It just makes a bad name for us.”

Penner says the videos he’s seen on Beaulieau's YouTube page show several infractions however one in particular is especially upsetting.

“Right away I noticed extremely low flying above wildlife, which is illegal,” he says. “If he is licenced he should know this is not an appropriate thing to do. You’re not supposed to be flying within the city or over built up areas. As you see in the video he’s also buzzing a rooftop but that wasn’t my main concern. The first thing I noticed was him harassing the wildlife.”

According to Penner this is not the first or only time Beaulieu has recorded himself getting too close to wild animals.

“In another video he was harassing hawks and eagles and it looks like some ducks or something above a pond. Also some cattle he had buzzed of course got spooked and… you could see a couple of them go right into the fence.”

Section 27 of the B.C. Wildlife Act says any person who “herds or harasses wildlife with the use of a motor vehicle, aircraft, boat or other mechanical device commits an offence.”

Beaulieau may also have broken a minimum altitude regulation however calls to Transport Canada and Conservation B.C. were not returned in time for publication.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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