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Industry vs. endangered spotted owl

The Story


Battles between environmentalists and industry rage on. One such conflict - over the spotted owl and its habitat - is being waged on both sides of the border. In British Columbia, logging companies and environmentalists are fighting their battle in the courts. CBC's Alan Waterman reports on the situation in Siwash Creek where conservation groups are trying to stop logging in the old growth spotted owl habitat - which just happens to be prime timber-harvesting territory. Waterman reports that environmentalists have all but given up on the province and are turning instead to the federal government, hoping for tough legislation similar to that in the United States.

Medium: Television
Program: Canada Now
Broadcast Date: Sept. 5, 2001
Guests: Gwen Barlee, Mike de Jong, Joe Foy, Devon Page
Reporter: Alan Waterman
Duration: 2:10

Did You know?


• The spotted owl is considered an important indicator species, reflecting the health of the old-growth ecosystem in which it lives.
• In September 2002 the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, Sierra Legal Defence Fund and Forest Watch released Logging to Extinction: The Last Stand of the Northern Spotted Owl in Canada.
• Following the release of this publication, two of the top industrial loggers of owl habitat, International Forest Products and Canadian Forest Products, voluntarily deferred logging in spotted owl habitat while they wait for the B.C. government's new Spotted Owl Recovery Team to issue recovery recommendations.
• The province of British Columbia has no endangered species protection laws.
• The 2003 Species at Risk Act contains provisions allowing the federal government to invoke protection measures when a provincial species at risk is critically threatened and the responsible provincial government cannot or will not address the imminent threat.
• In February 2004 a coalition of environmental groups submitted a legal petition to the federal government asking for emergency intervention to halt logging in the owl's habitat.
• According to this coalition, only 14 adult owls were recorded in British Columbia in 2003, making the spotted owl the most endangered bird in Canada.
• The coalition consisted of the David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics, Sierra Club of Canada, the Western Canada Wilderness Committee and Sierra Legal Defence Fund.
• While Environment Minister David Anderson said he recognized the merits of the petition, he wanted to give the province time to come up with a recovery plan.
• The coalition will seek a meeting with the new environment minister, Stéphane Dion, in the fall of 2004.
• CBC's Eve Savory looks at the spotted owl situation south of the border and finds tempers running high.


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