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Environmental Coalition Says B.C. Needs More Wildlife Refuges

With only 1% of British Columbia protected with wildlife refuges, an environmental coalition calls on the BC Wildlife Federation to work with them to create more.

MEDIA RELEASE
April 21, 2015

Fernie, B.C.On the eve of the B.C. 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 B.C. 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 B.C. 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 B.C. 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, B.C.'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 B.C., where Montana has Glacier National Park and Alberta has Waterton Lakes National Park, but B.C. has no sanctuaries for wildlife. More balance is needed to provide both secure wildlife populations and hunting opportunities in B.C.'s Southern Rockies."

The groups look forward to working with the B.C. Wildlife Federation to ensure healthy wildlife populations for all British Columbians.

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Contact:

John Bergenske, Director of Conservation, Wildsight
john@wildsight.ca, 250 422 3566, cell: 250 489 9605

Harvey Locke, Strategic Advisor, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
harveyl@wild.org, 403 431 6777

Peter Wood, Terrestrial Campaigns Director, CPAWS-BC
peter@cpawsbc.org, 604 685 7445 ext 22

Bob Peart, Executive Director, Sierra Club BC
bob@sierraclub.bc.ca, 250 386 5255 x249