On the eve of the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) Annual General Meeting in Fernie, a coalition of environmental and conservation groups is calling on the BCWF to work with them to create a system of wildlife refuges to ensure healthy wildlife populations in BC for the benefit of all British Columbians, hunters and non-hunters alike.
Wildlife refuges, or sanctuaries, are large areas of natural habitat where animals can breed and raise their young without being shot or trapped. By serving as source populations, they contribute to wider regional wildlife populations where hunting can occur outside of refuges.
“Along with habitat protection, refuges are important for maintaining healthy wildlife populations into the future,” says John Bergenske, Wildsight’s Director of Conservation.
“Most people are surprised to learn that virtually no BC provincial parks are wildlife refuges. In fact, only 1% of British Columbia is currently set aside as wildlife refuges, almost all of which is within national parks,” states Peter Wood, Terrestrial Campaigns Director of the BC chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS).
"Wildlife refuges are an essential part of effective wildlife conservation. They provide a benchmark to measure against wildlife populations where hunting is allowed,” explains Bob Peart, Executive Director of Sierra Club BC.
Harvey Locke, Strategic Advisor to the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative says, “At a provincial level, BC's lack of wildlife refuges is striking compared to Alberta, which is 10% wildlife refuges. The lack of refuges compared to its neighbours is particularly striking in southeast BC, where Montana has Glacier National Park and Alberta has Waterton Lakes National Park, but BC has no sanctuaries for wildlife. More balance is needed to provide both secure wildlife populations and hunting opportunities in BC's Southern Rockies."
The groups look forward to working with the BC Wildlife Federation to ensure healthy wildlife populations for all British Columbians.
John Bergenske, Director of Conservation, Wildsight
email@example.com, 250 422 3566, cell: 250 489 9605
Harvey Locke, Strategic Advisor to the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
firstname.lastname@example.org, 403 431 6777
Peter Wood, Terrestrial Campaigns Director of CPAWS-BC
email@example.com, 604 685 7445 ext 22
Bob Peart, Executive Director of Sierra Club BC
firstname.lastname@example.org, 250 386 5255 x249