One left: British Columbia’s last chance on northern spotted owls

By Ruth Kamnitzer
May 18, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The northern spotted owl population in British Columbia has declined precipitously since pre-colonization. Earlier this month, two captive born males, which had been released into the wild last August, died, leaving just one female still in the wild. The owls depend on old-growth forests, particularly for nesting habitat, but logging of these forests continues to be a threat to the species — less than 3% of BC’s big-tree old-growth forest is left — along with competition from invasive barred owls. The owls hold deep cultural significance to First Nations, and the Spô’zêm First Nation, on whose traditional territory the last owl is found, are among those advocating for their protection and a halt to old-growth logging. Recent developments include indications the federal government may enact a provision in the Species at Risk Act allowing it to overrule provincial authorities in terms of spotted owl management.

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