The David Suzuki Foundation just released a new report on the state of British Columbia’s wildlife. The title pretty much says it all: “Rich Wildlife, Poor Protection.” To take just one example of the problem straight from the press release:
B.C. has lost 49 known species and subspecies since pre-settlement (including the Dawson caribou, greater sage-grouse and western pond turtle).
The problem is particularly acute in the province because—and this is something that few Americans realize—neither BC nor Canada has an endangered species act. So while American policymakers have been busy stripping away the ESA’s power; Canadian advocates are still pushing to get the law on the books in the first place.
I should mention too that the Suzuki Foundation sets a high bar for quality, and this report is no exception. It correctly points up the contradiction between the province’s impressive land conservation on the one hand, and the location of species that actually need protection on the other.
I’ll also add that BC and the US Northwest can learn a lot from each other when it comes to wildlife protection. As Sightline’s wildlife indicator and many maps demonstrate, the US Northwest is inches away from losing the last remaining caribou in the continental US; BC should take note and get serious about protecting the caribou’s Rocky Mountain habitat farther north lest the Canadian caribou make like their American cousins—and vanish. Just so, sage-grouse have already disappeared from BC, and nearly so from Canada entirely; meanwhile in the US, sage-grouse populations are so depressed that the bird’s existence in many places, including Washington, is under serious threat from dozens of causes.
Coverage of the report in the Globe and Mail,here.