Vancouver/Fraser Valley – The environmental group Ecojustice demanded action for the endangered Spotted Owl in British Columbia, after decades of mismanagement by the provincial government. On behalf of the Wilderness Committee, Ecojustice wrote to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, demanding the federal government step in and produce the long overdue habitat action plan for the Spotted Owl in southwestern B.C.
Sean O’Shea with Ecojustice told FVN: The Spotted Owl is unique to southwest BC. Unfortunately, due to loss of habitat, there aren’t many Spotted Owls left.
The demand letter was motivated by a recent expert report by Jared Hobbs, B.C.’s former and foremost Spotted Owl expert, commissioned by the Wilderness Committee. The report confirmed that the B.C. government has prioritized logging the Spotted Owl’s habitat over protections that are required by law.
Due to these failures of the B.C government, Ecojustice and the Wilderness Committee are now calling on the federal government to act. The Spotted Owl has been listed as endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act since 2003, and ultimately Minister McKenna is required by law to take action.
Prior to European contact, there were an estimated 500 pairs of Spotted Owls in southwest B.C. the only place in Canada where they are found. Those numbers have now declined as much as 99 percent. Little has been done to slow logging in the old-growth forest habitat of the Spotted Owl in B.C., while immediately to the south in the United States, millions of hectares of forest have been protected for the owl.
Ecojustice and the Wilderness Committee’s demand for action comes days after the release of a devastating UN Report which confirmed over a million species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction worldwide due to human activity. In B.C alone, 1,807 species are at risk of extinction. Yet the province still does not have laws dedicated to protecting and recovering these species.