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The Secret Life of Wolverines

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When you read the word “wolverine”, what comes to mind? A snarling, snapping North-American version of the Tasmanian devil? A fearsome furball taking down prey ten times its size?  Hugh Jackman? For a creature whose reputation has reached mythical proportions, it might surprise you to learn that there’s still a lot we don’t know about wolverines. Naturally rare, wolverines are found in remote wilderness areas, making them challenging study subjects. But with increasing pressure on the landscapes that wolverines and other wildlife call home, it’s more important than ever for land managers to have accurate information on wolverine populations in BC. Advances in research techniques and technology are not only providing the data necessary to protect wolverines, they’re actually changing the way we view this elusive species. Cliff Nietvelt is a BC government wildlife biologist who has been studying wolverines since 2009.  It was that year, working on a collaring project in the North Cascades, that he had his first up-close encounter with a wolverine. “We had set up a box trap and caught other carnivores but had no luck getting any wolverines,” recalls Cliff.  “I’d actually gone out to close the trap for a few days when I noticed...
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Restoration Work Begins on the Englishman River Estuary

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If you are walking the trails and beaches at the Englishman River estuary this summer, you may notice some new activity and heavy equipment working. It’s all part of a five-year plan to improve the habitat for fish and wildlife.   The Englishman River estuary and adjacent habitats support over 250 bird species, 23 mammals, plus several amphibians, reptiles, all species of Pacific salmon, and forage fish such as herring and Pacific sand lance. For over 25 years, The Nature Trust of British Columbia and partners have worked to secure land along the Englishman River. Today, over 100 hectares (247 acres) of the Englishman estuary and adjacent forest are protected and form part of the Parksville-Qualicum Beach Wildlife Management Area.    Since the 1930s, the Englishman estuary has been impacted by dikes, roads, residential development, industrial uses, and ditching. Today portions of the estuary are almost completely cut off from natural tidal and river processes. Consequently, the estuary has become less accessible for fish and wildlife that would normally use these habitats for shelter, feeding, and rearing.   “The Nature Trust of BC has been working with partners for decades to acquire and manage ecologically important lands along the Englishman River....
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News Release - HCTF Announces North Island Conservation Fund

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Fish and wildlife will receive an extra boost next year from a new fund explicitly for conservation projects on the northern half of Vancouver Island. The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has announced it will begin accepting applications for the $350,000 North Island Conservation Fund starting this fall. HCTF CEO Brian Springinotic said the Foundation decided to create the Fund following receipt of a $174,000 creative sentencing award from Neucel Specialty Cellulose Ltd after it was convicted for polluting Port Alice waters in 2011.  “In a perfect world we’d never receive these types of payments, because environmental damage wouldn’t take place,” said Springinotic. “Unfortunately, these types of infractions are still occurring, and our job is to ensure that money payable by the offender goes back into the habitats and species impacted, above and beyond any remediation required. Creative sentencing allows that to happen.” The judge in the Neucel case specified that the creative sentencing award be used to “support of fish and wildlife conservation projects on Northern Vancouver Island”.  HCTF’s Board of Directors decided to match the court award funding with revenue from surcharges on hunting and fishing licences to create the new $350,000 fund. HCTF is hopeful other local organizations...
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BC Fisher Habitat Website

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The BC Fisher Habitat Working Group has just launched a new website to assist BC forest licensees and their contractors to identify and retain important fisher habitat.  The site allows forest practitioners to download information and tools specific to their location and operational focus. The site includes: - spatial data that lets planning foresters identify habitats and retention targets for harvested areas - pictorial guides to help on-the-ground field crews identify trees and other habitats important to fishers, and - field guides to help operational staff retain fisher habitat in their day-to-day activities. The web site is also designed for use by trappers, First Nations, and other people who are interested in learning more about fisher conservation. Visit the BC Fisher Habitat Website The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation is proud to be a major funder of this extension project.   

Bat Counters Wanted

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The BC Community Bat Program is seeking volunteers and bat colonies for the Annual Bat Count. This citizen-science initiative encourages residents to count bats at local roost sites. “Bat counts are a wonderful way for residents to get involved in collecting important scientific information” says biologist Mandy Kellner, coordinator of the BC Community Bat Program. “No special skills are needed, kids can be involved, and you can relax in a deck chair while counting.” This year the Annual Bat Count will collect baseline data on bat populations before the devastating White Nose Syndrome fungal disease affects bats in the province. “White Nose Syndrome is estimated to have killed more than six million bats since it was first discovered in eastern North America a decade ago,” says Kellner. “In March 2016, the disease was detected just east of Seattle. This has greatly increased our urgency to understand bat populations in BC. We need the public’s help to census local bat populations. The summer of 2017 may be our last year to obtain population estimates before White Nose Syndrome causes widespread declines in western North America.” Volunteers wait outside a known roost site, such as a bat-house, barn, bridge or attic, and...
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