Another of Canada's spotted owls died yesterday at a BC bird sanctuary bringing the estimated population down to 16. In this instance the owl was a female thought to be a part of one of only 3 breeding pairs remaining in the province.
Though the spotted owl is more widespread in America's Pacific Northwest, their population has been rapidly falling in British Columbia - its only home in Canada - under the heavy pressure of old growth clear cut logging. Despite repeated calls for a comprehensive recovery strategy and critical habitat protection, the BC government continues to allow logging in their old growth habitat while federal Environment Minister Rona Ambrose has publicly stated that the owls "do not currently face imminent threats to its survival or recovery."
The spotted owl is a specialized creature that has evolved to thrive specifically in the old growth forests of the west. They rely on the habitat for both food and protection from predators, and for this reason are considered a barometer for the health of the forests themselves.
In this latest case, the owl was recovered from the side of Highway 3 in Manning Park, alive but severely emaciated. It died shortly later despite the efforts of care takers at the South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls