Rich Wildlife, Poor Protection: The urgent need for strong legal protection of British Columbia's biodiversity cover

Download PDF

Rich Wildlife, Poor Protection investigates 3,672 native and regularly occurring terrestrial and freshwater species and subspecies in B.C. This is the first Canadian study to report endangerment below the species level. The report concludes that in order to safeguard the province's unusually abundant biodiversity, the B.C. government must set in place a stronger set of policies to protect species and their habitat, as well as introduce a robust provincial Endangered Species Act.

The province has a rich legacy to protect, but is squandering its unique biological inheritance. There is no strong, stand-alone endangered species legislation in British Columbia. Current protections are piecemeal, weak and ineffective, leaving the province rich in species, but poor in protection. Many species have already been lost from the province.

  • B.C. has lost 49 known species and subspecies including the Dawson caribou, greater sage-grouse and western pond turtle.
  • A further 1300 species and subspecies may be at risk of disappearing from the province.
  • Only 68 of B.C.'s known species at risk — approximately 5 per cent — get any kind of "protection" under B.C. laws. None receive essential habitat protection.
  • Species "protected" under these laws are teetering on the verge of extinction. For example, Northern Spotted Owl — with only 17 birds left in Canada — are not given the survival and recovery strategies they need to survive.

The study is also published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Biodiversity, Volume 8, Issue 1, entitled Waiting for the Ark: The biodiversity crisis in British Columbia, Canada, and the need for a strong endangered species law.

The Solution

Rich Wildlife, Poor Protection offers five recommendations, including creating strong endangered species legislation. British Columbia needs extensive revision and renewal to its laws and policies to meet our national and international responsibilities.

Scientific paper published in peer-reviewed scientific journal Biodiversity (PDF)

Appendices to the scientific paper (PDF)