Group calls for investigation over endangered species
JEFF HODSON FILE PHOTO
Two local environmental groups are calling for a federal investigation after learning the provincial government is instructing endangered species recovery teams not to identify critical habitat.
The Wilderness Committee and Ecojustice, formerly Sierra Legal, yesterday released a government document, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, that suggests the province is deliberately not enforcing the Species At Risk Act.
According to Ecojustice staff lawyer Devon Page one of the key components of recovery strategies is identifying where endangered species live so critical habitats can be protected.
"One of the biologists tipped us off to a document they received that directed them to not identify (critical) habitat, regardless of whether or not (the habitat) was known," said Page.
"The scientists know exactly where these plants were. Yet the recovery strategies contains the words, ‘We don’t know where it is.’"
Some of the species at risk include the rigid apple and poor pocket moss, as well as the sea otter, leatherback turtle and transient killer whale.
"If we started protecting them we would start having to … log sustainably," said Page.
"When endangered species are lost, the environment starts to degrade. It affects tourism, it affects other industries that work in the forest, it affects things like water quality and it can affect air quality."
Representatives from the provincial government did not return calls by press time.