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Wildsight mounts fight for endangered mountain caribou habitat in Seymour River watershed

By Wildsight
June 25th, 2024

Residents are being asked to help protect endangered mountain caribou habitat and old growth forests at risk of logging north of Salmon Arm, as part of a new Wildsight-organized campaign.

Stella Jones and Pacific Woodtech’s proposed clearcuts would result in the combined destruction of 608 hectares of core caribou habitat and mature and old-growth stands of the Inland Temperate Rainforest, in the remote Seymour River watershed.

“Almost all the proposed clearcuts overlap with the Columbia North caribou herd’s core habitat — that is, habitat which the province itself has identified as being absolutely critical to this herd’s survival,” says Eddie Petryshen, Conservation Specialist at Wildsight.

“The Columbia North herd is the last of B.C.’s southernmost mountain caribou herds with a chance of a long-term future, but that’s dependent on us not destroying the forests it relies on,” he says.

“We’re asking residents to sign our letter calling on key decision makers, including Premier David Eby, to halt these proposed cutblocks in the Seymour and protect all of the Columbia North herd’s core habitat into the future.”

Habitat destruction and fragmentation from logging pose some of the biggest threats to the future of B.C.’s mountain caribou. Over the last two decades, seven herds south of the Columbia North herd’s range have been declared locally extinct, while the Central Selkirk herd teeters on the brink.

To prevent the Columbia North herd from meeting the same fate, the federal recovery plan recommends that 100% of its core habitat be protected, yet only one third currently is.

“Less than two years ago we were here doing exactly the same thing: fighting to protect a different set of proposed cutblocks in the Columbia North herd’s core habitat. Thanks to this community and the leadership of Indigenous Nations, those cutblocks were defeated, but this recurring story highlights the fact that unless permanent protections are put in place, industry will continue trying to log these forests,” Petryshen says.

“If the province intends to stand by its commitments to protect mountain caribou and old growth, it must step in before irreversible harm is done.”

Wildsight is a registered charity that protects biodiversity and encourages sustainable communities in Canada’s Columbia and Rocky Mountain regions. We work with industry, scientists, the teaching community and all levels of government, including First Nations, to shape and influence land-use decisions, guide practice and steward change on the ground. At our heart, we are a grassroots organization, harnessing our power from the people whose lives affect and are affected by our work.

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