The last wild-born spotted owl is in th

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Spotted owl won’t go extinct on our watch

Hi Paov,

What a whirlwind few weeks it has been on the campaign to defend the spotted owl — let me try and catch you up.

Last week, we took the federal government to court, represented by our lawyers at Ecojustice and accompanied by our ally Chief James Hobart from Spô'zêm First Nation, regarding their eight-month delay in issuing an emergency order for the spotted owl.

Spotted owl and an emergency order

Under the federal Species at Risk Act, when the environment minister determines an approaching threat to a species — which he did in January — he can recommend an emergency order to the federal cabinet to protect the owl’s critical habitat from further destruction, in this case it was logging.

More than a thousand of you wrote letters in January in support of the order, thank you! But then, eight months went by … until the minister finally made the “emergency” order a few... weeks ago in September. Which the cabinet promptly rejected.

So wait, what? The federal cabinet decided this wasn’t emergency enough? With one wild-born spotted owl and two captive-bred owls left, you and I disagree!

BC talking and logging

From what we gathered from evidence discussed at the hearing, the BC government put a lot of pressure on the feds to stop the emergency order. Because they said they had it under control.

Except you and I know that doesn’t track. In the evidence we submitted, all summer while the federal minister waited, the BC government permitted active logging in spotted owl critical habitat. The exact habitat the federal minister acknowledged was at risk during his threat assessment in January.

And some of that logging is taking place in old-growth deferral areas. The ones that have been “deferred” to save them from logging until they can negotiate permanent protection, as required by the recommendations in the Old Growth Strategic Review.

​​​​​​Logging in spotted owl critical habitat

Déjà vu anyone? The most shocking moments in court were when we drew the judge’s attention back to 2006. We took the then-federal minister to court demanding he recommend an emergency order for the spotted owl given the dire situation. That was 17 years ago when there were 22 owls left in the wild — not one. And the BC government did the same thing. They told the feds and the courts they had it under control and so they let them off the hook.

17 years later, we know that isn’t true. But this time, we can’t let them get away with it.

  • Write a letter to the premier and Nathan Cullen, BC's minister of water, land and resource stewardship and tell them enough excuses, they need to stop logging spotted owl critical habitat now! They release captive-bred owls with one hand while the other continues to authorize logging of its home to the ground.
Write now!
  • Donate to the campaign. We are heading immediately back to spotted owl habitat while the heat is on and the owls still have a fighting chance. We’ve got media looking to get out there and witness, and we want to check out the latest destruction with Chief Hobart. And we’re working with school kids to ramp up pressure on the premier to do the right thing.
Support the campaign!

The court decision won’t be out for six months, but in the meantime we have got to run with the momentum of the last two weeks and ensure we tell the government what you and I have known for decades — we won’t let you drive the spotted owl to extinction in Canada!

Joe Foy

Protected Areas Campaigner
Wilderness Committee

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