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Kelowna  

Protecting at-risk species

Governments are not doing enough to protect at-risk species in the Okanagan, according to a nationwide assessment by World Wildlife Fund Canada.

Released on Earth Day, the assessment identified areas of "high priority for at-risk species, carbon sinks and future climate refuges that should be prioritized now for protection."

It stated in part that, while B.C. leads other jurisdictions in ecological representation, areas such as the Okanagan should be prioritized to safeguard wildlife now and for the future.

"The Okanagan," it states, "is home to many at-risk species, like the pallid bat and desert nightsnake, but expanding development has added even more pressure to habitats that are either inadequately or not at all protected."

The report says the primary threat to the pallid bat is the encroachment of roads, residential and agricultural development, which erodes its habitat.

It goes on to say the desert nightsnake is at imminent risk of disappearing from the Okanagan due to the same incursion from roads and development.

The WWF says it produced the assessment to identify historical gaps in essential wildlife habitat protection, and opportunities to protect areas that benefit biodiversity while slowing climate change.

Canada is warming at twice the global rate, the WWF says.



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