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What does it take to save a species? A people-powered movement, and an endangered species law.

Jan 25 2016

By Jennifer Deol, BC Species at Risk Project Assistant

There is no debate anymore – wild species around the globe are drastically declining. And caring citizens across the globe are tired of being bystanders to the sixth mass extinction, while decision-makers dither on policies and politics.

With British Columbia’s own provincial government failing to pull its weight in this biodiversity crisis, a local community in Ryder Lake, Chilliwack BC has stepped up to the plate to protect BC’s only resident toad – the western toad.

Their heartwarming and relentless efforts to help baby toads cross a dangerous road is truly inspiring. However, while it is a much-needed start, this kind of “people power” is not enough to protect the hundreds of at risk species that call British Columbia home. That is where the BC government must show leadership…and soon.

Sadly, British Columbia is failing its species at risk. A province with some of the most diverse wildlife in all of North America, BC is still one of only two Canadian provinces with no endangered species law.

That means that the vast majority of the 1,900 species at risk in our backyards have no legal protection.* It is truly baffling that during a time when there is a global biodiversity crisis, the BC government stands idly by twiddling their thumbs.


The barn owl is one of the other 1,900 species at risk in BC without legislated protection. Photo: Isabelle Groc.

While the tireless efforts of local communities can help prevent these species from disappearing entirely, we need the BC government to do its fair share. We need a provincial endangered species law with legally binding government recovery strategies, to give at-risk species a chance to not just survive but thrive again on this tiny blue dot that we all call home.

Community by community, the movement to save species has already begun – with or without our provincial government. People across our province, our nation and around the globe have recognized that the stability of their communities depends on the health and diversity of all living things.

Sooner or later, decision-makers will have to act. So let’s keep the pressure on the BC government to implement a systematic and legally binding approach that supports the efforts of communities like Ryder Lake, to protect the wildlife and wild spaces we are interdependent upon.

To take the first step, join the movement to save a species by contributing to our film Toad People.

Let’s bring the inspiring efforts of Ryder Lake to communities across BC, to reach even more people (including decision-makers) and to inspire more communities to protect the wildlife in their backyards.

Then sign the petition and join 38,000 other citizens telling the BC government to introduce a BC endangered species law.

Why? Because as a wise lorax once said, “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
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*Only 10% of BC’s 1,900 species at risk are protected under the federal Species at Risk Act

Photo: Community members in Ryder Lake, BC have taken amphibian health into their own hands (Isabelle Groc)

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