Inspired by an SFU letter to MLA candidates, Sally Otto and I sent the following email to a long list of candidates, picking up where we left off with a Vancouver Sun op-ed from 2010 (no progress since then!).
Dear MLA candidate,
|A female sea otter (a federally listed species at risk) with her
her pup, seen in Kyuquot Sound, northern Vancouver Island.
We note that BC has recently released a draft five-year plan for species at risk in the province (http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/atrisk/5_yr_plan/). This draft is somewhat vague about the measures to be undertaken, but we are encouraged to see that one of the proposals is to:
"Analyze opportunities for and make recommendations regarding changes to existing or new policy and legislation to address gaps in legal protection for species at risk, ensuring input from stakeholders and the public is considered prior to making any changes (starting in 2013)."
Addressing the huge legislative gaps with respect to species protection is critical. Without such legal protection, most endangered species in BC are increasingly at risk. The federal species at risk act has extremely limited application and was intended as a complement to provincial legislative protection. We have already seen sage grouse, white-tailed jackrabbit, and the pygmy short-horned lizard extirpated from our province, with spotted owls soon to follow (the latest data records only two pairs of breeding birds remaining in BC). BC has incredible natural landscapes and biological heritage that are worth protecting. They have earned this province its “super natural” reputation, a reputation that can be protected if we act together in a manner that is scientifically sound as well as socially and economically responsible.
We would be more than happy to help serve as a resource if you wish to discuss these issues further.
Sally and Kai
Dr. Sarah (Sally) Otto, FRSC
Director, Biodiversity Research Centre
Department of Zoology
University of British Columbia
6270 University Blvd.
Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z4
Dr. Kai M. A. Chan
Assoc Prof & Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services)
Graduate Advisor, RMES
Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability
2202 Main Mall, 4th floor
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4