British Columbia

Range of wildlife habitats to be protected in southeastern B.C.

Nests, dens and burrows are not to be disturbed in Kootenay Boundary, with the rules set to expand across province.

Nests, dens, burrows in Kootenay Boundary not to be disturbed, with rules set to expand across province

Bald eagle nests are among the habitats now protected in the Kootenay Boundary region. (Hancock Wildlife Foundation)

Foresters and ranchers in B.C.'s Kootenay Boundary region will have to follow a new set of rules to ensure birds' nests, animal dens, mineral licks, bat nurseries and other wildlife habitat isn't disturbed.

The provincial government says it is issuing the order to help wildlife survive and thrive.

Environment Minister George Heyman says many of the species at risk in the area will have a much better chance for survival if their habitat is protected.

Provincewide expansion planned

The new protection order is the first of its kind in B.C. and will take effect on July 1. The government says the intent is to eventually have similar orders provincewide.

The protections cover:

  • nests for bald eagles, osprey, and great blue herons
  • burrows for American badgers
  • dens of grizzly bears
  • bat hibernation sites
  • several other wildlife features

Forest Minister Doug Donaldson says wildlife is dependent on such habitat for shelter, breeding and to raise young, and that these extra measures will keep them safe.

Forestry operators and range tenure holders will be offered training to help identify and take the steps needed to protect the habitats.

The government says consultation was carried out with those directly affected and with local Indigenous communities.

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