Nearly 30 acres were bought in South Okanagan to protect bighorn sheep – Okanagan

A BC nonprofit has purchased nearly 30 acres of ecologically important land in the South Okanagan to protect it from potential development.

According to the Nature Trust of British Columbia, the habitat purchase covers 29.2 hectares (72 acres) south of Penticton, with the land providing valuable habitat for several endangered species.

The land, now part of the Nature Trust’s Skaha Lake Eastside Conservation Complex, is home to bighorn sheep. It features grasslands, open forests and rocky terrain.

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“The Skaha Lake Eastside Conservation Area adds important habitat for bighorn sheep for foraging, lambing and escaping predators,” Nature Trust said, adding that the South Okanagan is irrevocably losing native grasslands due to human development.

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“Bighorn sheep are a species of provincial importance in British Columbia. They rely on mixed habitats to survive, including cliffs, grasslands and flight sites,” Nature Trust said.

The organization said human pressure on the animals’ habitat has reduced their presence in the Okanagan, with their grassland habitat facing “degradation, fragmentation and total loss.”

“Increased human activity has disrupted their movements, reducing population sizes and increasing their susceptibility to disease.”

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Okanagan Conservation Land Manager for Nature Trust, Nicholas Burdock said, “The east side of Skaha Lake represents some of the most iconic and spectacular views and terrain the Okanagan has to offer.”

Nature Trust added that the area is also home to the Common Bat (an endangered species), American Badger (endangered), Lewis Woodpecker (endangered), Western Screech Owl (endangered), Desert Nightsnake (endangered), Western Rattlesnake (threatened) is. and Great Basin Gopher Snake (endangered).

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“Protecting properties like Skaha Lake Eastside, which has complex and sensitive ecosystems that support many endangered species, is one of our top conservation priorities,” said Jasper Lament, CEO of Nature Trust of BC.

“When we save bighorn sheep habitat, we also protect numerous other endangered species.”

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© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc. Nearly 30 acres were bought in South Okanagan to protect bighorn sheep – Okanagan

Brian Lowry

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