BC’s Endangered Species
British Columbia is the most biologically diverse province in Canada, with two dozen unique mammal species in an array of habitats, according to the Sierra Club. While this is worthy of celebration, the fact that the province has hundreds of species and ecosystems at risk, and still lacks a law to protect endangered species, is not.
Sierra Club reports that there are at least1,600 endangered species in BC including the chocolate-eyed spotted owl, mountain caribou and marbled murrelet. Yet only 5% of these endangered species are legally protected. Without legal protection their habitats face threats from urban sprawl, development, pollution, the introduction of exotic species and deforestation.
However, hope was offered May 31, 2010 when a Legislature Bill was put forward including legal tools which would mean that BC’s threatened wildlife is finally protected. Sierra Club reveals that on June 10, 2010, the B.C. government established a Species At Risk Task Force with ten members who are to report to cabinet by the end of 2010.
Sierra Club BC has recently been targeting municipal governments in order to gain their support on this important issue. So far, 13 municipalities have signed on including Burnaby, Maple Ridge, Whistler, Abbotsford and Victoria. More are needed.
Now, Sierra Club BC is lobbying the BC government to follow Ontario’s lead and pass stand-alone legislation to solve the mishmash of regulations and laws intended to save endangered species and their habitats.
Step One of vulnerable species and ecosystems preservation is largely complete says Environment Canada. Tracking lists have been created which help identify which species and ecosystems are the most vulnerable and provide the basis for the Ministry of Environment’s Red and Blue lists. Placing animals and habitats on these lists flags them as being at risk and requiring investigation. Now we need legislation to protect the species.
If you’d like to help, Sierra Club has a section on their website listing What You Can Do.