Posted on August 22, 2016

Green FrogEver wonder what type of creatures dwell in Burns Bog? Here are some of the species that live in the largest raised peat bog on the west coast of North America.

Autumn meadowhawk: This blue-listed dragonfly species breeds in small ponds in Burns Bog. They are shades of red and brown. Autumn meadowhawks are carnivorous and prey on insects ranging from mosquitoes to moths.

Posted on July 01, 2016

Little Brown Bat in gloved handRecently, my five year old daughter signed up with Earth Rangers, a Canadian kids’ conservation organization. She wanted to start a campaign to save bats. This led her to find out more about bats.

Posted on January 10, 2016

Beaver - Photo by Pat GainesEarly October saw an unusual addition to some of the world’s top financial publications, as BBC Earth published its “Earth Index” in the Wall Street Journal, The Times, the Singapore Business Times, and the Economic Times of India.

Posted on September 16, 2015

British Columbia’s coastal waters are home to one of the most stunning marine features on the planet: glass sponge reefs. They were thought to have gone extinct 60 million years ago – but then geological scientists found some near Haida Gwaii in the late 1980s.

Posted on June 05, 2015

The first year of the controversial BC wolf cull ended in mid-April. Government-contracted hunters killed 84 wolves from helicopters, below their target of 184 wolves.

Posted on April 19, 2015

Grizzley bears in BCBrown bears, of which grizzlies are the North American subspecies, were once found on four continents, making them one of the most widespread mammal populations in the world. Their original range included Europe, North Africa, northern and central Asia, the Middle East, and North America.

Posted on April 13, 2015

And here we have it -- why so many bizarre events are being approved because the "science" seems to indicate it's ok. The Vancouver Observer r eports on the grizzly hunt in Tsilqotin territory, increased wihtout First Nations consent: 

"A FOI released ministerial briefing note says the total number of grizzlies used to justify the hunt, was actually a hunch.  

Posted on March 05, 2015

Wolf Photo by IanMcAllisterOn January 15, helicopters lifted into the skies over British Columbia’s South Selkirk and South Peace regions to start the killing of wolves. The goal is to limit the wolves’ predation on dwindling interior caribou herds, the populations of which have dropped to critical levels. Between 2009 and 2014, the South Selkirk herd dropped from 46 to just 18 animals.

Posted on January 09, 2015

The Homeward WolfModern-day humans seem to hate predators, often without realising that we are predators ourselves. In fact, it is likely the main reason we have engaged in killing off as many as we can ever since we evolvedinto an upright, fully bipedal species. Why? To my mind, there are two primary reasons: competition and fear.

Posted on December 29, 2014

whaleThere is a resurgence of life happening in our coastal waters. Slowly recovering from centuries of hunting and persecution, humpback whales, fin whales, Steller sea lions and sea otters are beginning to make a comeback.

Posted on October 16, 2014

Deer standing in the forest.

Mad deer disease is here. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is the official name for our latest wildlife plague. CWD is not spread by bacteria or viruses but by deformed proteins. Like other prion diseases, such as mad cow disease and scrapie, CWD kills by deteriorating the brain and nervous system. Prion diseases don’t jump from one species to another. At least, that’s what government agencies insisted when mad cow became epidemic in Britain in the 1990s. Then a not-so-funny thing happened: 140 humans died from a fatal dementia they developed after eating beef from infected cows.

Posted on May 28, 2014

On March 31, 2014, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that Japan’s deliberate hunting, plus incidental killing of whales in the Southern Ocean was in violation of Japan’s legal obligations under an international treaty banning commercial whaling. Japan’s subsequent cancelling of this year’s hunt elicited jubilant responses by anti-whaling NGO communities around the world.

Posted on February 14, 2014

Good news for white sturgeon, the pacific humpback whale, the marbled murrelet, the southern mountain woodland caribou and over 200 other critters. In a spectacular victory for environmental groups and the critters, the Federal Court has ruled that the Ministers of Environment and Fisheries broke the law, and were negligent in their lack of enforcement of the Species At Risk Act.

Posted on January 29, 2014

GBR winter 2014

Standing beside dead bears.

Hanging from chains.

Blood on their hands.

Should be hanging their heads in shame.

Posted on October 17, 2012

A study on Quadra Island indicates wildlife survives group selection logging, but retention of second-growth trees is recommended.

Small clearcut and pushover logging patch cuts in the Morte Lake area of Quadra Island, in northern Georgia Strait, were the subject of a recent study which looked at the effects of group selection logging on wildlife. The study took place over the past five-and-a-half years, and wildlife populations were sampled for two years prior to logging and one year after logging.

According to the study's report, prepared by biologist Jennifer Balke of nearby Denman Island, there were no substantial effects of the first entry of group selection logging on populations of birds or small mammals sampled in the sites.

However, the study does recommend the retention of mature second growth trees and snags, in patches or buffer strips, to supply future large trees as roosts, cavities, and large coarse woody debris. Such patches or buffer strips of mature second-growth trees and snags would help to "sustain the observed wildlife diversity and abundance through repeated logging entries."

Posted on October 16, 2012

Friends of our herons can now "invest in a nest."

by Judi Stevenson

Most of the 60 species of the heron family found around the world evolved to live in tropical wetlands. Even the great blue herons that nest east of the Rockies fly south to find the sun in winter. Our friends, the coastal subspecies Ardea herodias fannini, are unique.

Posted on October 14, 2012

Has the web of life been broken, beyond any hope of repair?

by Maggie Paquet ©

Back in autumn 1999, newspapers and at least one national magazine carried an article by Tom Reimchen of the University of Victoria Biology Department on the links between bears, salmon, and forests in the coastal ecosystems of British Columbia.

Posted on October 14, 2012

Japanese discover the whales and dolphins are too contaminated to serve as sushi.

by Delores Broten

In a bitter twist of fate, the Japanese may indeed have been contributing to scientific research as they devoured illegal whale meat. For over 20 years, despite the International Whaling Commission, Japan has claimed to be doing scientific research as it harvested minke whales for food.

Posted on October 08, 2012

In November, the number of species at risk in Canada was raised by seven, following a meeting of COSEWIC, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. The number of Species at Risk in Canada now stands at 387. Among the species re-evaluated, the Killer Whale, Orcinus orca, tops the list.

Posted on September 26, 2012

The Canadian Bison Association lists 1,250 buffalo ranches operating in Canada. In the late 1990s, commercial production was expected to grow 25 percent a year until 2005. Experts predict as many as 700,000 animals will be processed 10 years from now. Some agribusiness analysts predict buffalo will displace cattle in North America.

by Don Malcolm

Forty kilometres north of the busy Trans Canada Highway at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Buffalo Pound Provincial Park offers an enchanting relief from the noisy, aggressive traffic beating its way east and west on Canada's main road. Within the park the Qu'Appelle River pursues its centuries old task of cutting a deep wide valley through the prairie flat lands.

Posted on September 26, 2012

The Canadian Bison Association lists 1,250 buffalo ranches operating in Canada. In the late 1990s, commercial production was expected to grow 25 percent a year until 2005. Experts predict as many as 700,000 animals will be processed 10 years from now. Some agribusiness analysts predict buffalo will displace cattle in North America.

by Don Malcolm

Forty kilometres north of the busy Trans Canada Highway at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Buffalo Pound Provincial Park offers an enchanting relief from the noisy, aggressive traffic beating its way east and west on Canada's main road. Within the park the Qu'Appelle River pursues its centuries old task of cutting a deep wide valley through the prairie flat lands.

Posted on September 12, 2012

Where once a thousand spotted owls ruled the night in southwest BC, now slightly more than a dozen hang on while logging rips their remaining old growth forest habitat to shreds. Our goal is to shame BC’s Minister in charge of endangered species, Pat Bell, into ordering a halt to the logging.

by Joe Foy

I write this Wild Times column whilst stationed in a Wilderness Committee research camp which is lo­cated

Posted on September 01, 2012

BC’s expanding network of highways and motorized wilderness access a major threat to bear travels routes, but a new threat bearing down on BC’s embattled grizzlies - private power projects.

by Joe Foy

Posted on August 31, 2012

Back in the 1880s, there would have been about 500 pairs of spotted owls in the local forests. Now there are six.

by Joe Foy

Southwest mainland BC is home to over two million people. You’d think that with all the people who live here, quiet wild places would be hard to find.

Posted on August 31, 2012

Wild nature and commerce can live side by side if the landscape is shared. Damaged landscapes can be “rewilded” by protecting the land and creating linked wilderness parks.

by Joe Foy

I write this column sitting at a picnic table beside a little beach on Lake of the Woods at Kenora, Ontario. Our family summer va­cation this year has entailed a Trans­Canada Highway trip to Winnipeg to attend a wedding – then further east to points unknown. So far it has been a great odyssey across the amazing southern Canadian landscape.

We left our home at New West­minster in a heatwave, then motored on along the mighty Fraser River to Hope, then wound up the Coquihalla to fresh coolness at the summit of the Cascade Range.

Down the eastern slope, we descended into the tawny grasslands of Merritt, then over the mountains and

Posted on August 29, 2012

by Ingmar Lee

Recently I attended a lecture about the state of the Vancouver Island marmot given by the leading expert on the subject, “Mr. Marmot,” aka Dr. Andrew Bryant. He had been invited to speak to University of Victoria environmental restoration students. About half of Dr. Bryant’s power-point presentation outlined the history

Posted on August 22, 2012

“Exploring” BC’s oil reserves would put the BC marine environment in jeopardy before one drop of oil is extracted from the ocean floor.

by Jay Ritchlin, David Suzuki Foundation

Coastal communities, conservationists, First Nations groups and other concerned British

Posted on August 16, 2012

BC-based Raincoast Conservation Society, with the support of fi ve coastal First Nations, has bought one of the largest trophy hunting licenses in North America, in an unprecedented move to make conservation the primary objective in managing wildlife – not sport or profi t. 

No public funds were used for the purchase of the $1.35 million commercial license, which covers an area of more than 20,000 square kilometres of wildlife rich habitat, including grizzly bear, black bear and the rare white Spirit or Kermode bear, along with wolf, cougar and wolverine populations.

Posted on August 15, 2012

Bill 51 Amendments to the Wildlife Act was designed to stave off federal intervention while actually doing nothing to protect endangered species and their habitat.

by Joe Foy

Posted on August 11, 2012

The third largest logger of mountain caribou habitat is the BC government.

by Candace Batyki

By the time you read this the BC government will have released its new spotted owl recovery plan. If the rumours hold true, the plan will likely protect a few of the nesting sites that owls have used in recent years, and open most of the rest of their old-growth forest habitat up for logging, even nest sites used as recently as 2004. The public will be mollified with a captive breeding program, and treated to photos (and web-cam feeds?) of baby owls. But owl experts agree: without protecting habitat, there is no point in rais­ing baby owls, since they will be released to an inhospitable landscape, with few survival skills.

Posted on August 10, 2012

Since Harcourt’s 1995 “win win” solution to save both the spotted owl population and logging jobs there are less than 20 spotted owls remaining in the tattered old growth forests of southwest BC, and their numbers are declining. Forestry jobs have dropped too because of past over-logging, increasing mechanization and skyrocketing raw log exports.

by Joe Foy

We were looking for signs of fresh logging in spotted owl habitat west of Lillooet. 

The pick-up truck began to fishtail kicking up dust. Somewhere in the back I could hear a whump

Posted on July 07, 2012

Preserving the wilderness from Tweedsmuir Park to the Fraser River in BC.

by Ric Careless and Sheena Careless

Two hundred kilometres north of Vancouver, the Chilcotin Ark is a 565 kilometre swath of world-class wilderness that stretches from

Posted on June 21, 2012

by Maggie Paquet 

Virtually all of the world’s mountain caribou live in British Columbia, where their populations have been declining for at least the last half century. Initially, the decline was attributed to over-hunting; regulations were changed and their numbers rebounded.

For at least the past 40 years, logging has been

Posted on June 20, 2012

by Nicky Blackshaw 

The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), an international non-profit, is recognized as one of the world’s leading examples of large-scale landscape conservation in practice. Y2Y works with local organizations to facilitate and create a holistic approach to land use management throughout the mountainous region that extends 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometres) from Yellowstone National Park to the Yukon wilderness. 

The Yellowstone to Yukon region contains some of the most spectacular mountains and beautiful landscapes in the world, and holds a rich diversity of wildlife and habitats, as well as a wide variety of human communities and cultures.

Posted on June 14, 2011

by Laurel Beauprie

It wouldn't be news if I told you our planet has its environmental problems. Sure, we're making some progress in controlling what we put into the air, put into our landfills and even put into our oceans. But we're not paying enough attention to what we are

Posted on January 12, 2011

Dolphin Huntby Tarah Millen

The town of Taiji, Japan is responsible for the slaughter and trade of over 2,000 dolphins each year. A jewel along the South East coastline of Japan, Taiji could transform into a beautiful oasis were it not for the

Posted on May 19, 2010

bearsby Ian McAllister

In April, the BC government once again opened the gratuitous sport hunt of bears in the Great Bear Rainforest and across BC. The genetically distinct Haida black bear is being targeted as well as the monarch of the rainforest - the grizzly. Even the coastal black bear that carries the recessive gene that produces the pure white bear, or Spirit bear, can legally be killed in over 98% of its range. 

In 2007, 430 grizzlies were killed in BC, 363 of them by sport hunters, making the year the highest rate of hunter-caused mortality of this iconic bear since records have been kept.