Badgers are carnivorous mammals that live in the grasslands and dry forests of the interior of British Columbia. Even though we live with badgers, not many people are fortunate enough to see one because badgers generally move around at night and are secretive by nature.
Badgers are endangered in British Columbia and it is believed that probably less than 350 badgers live here now. The grasslands and dry forests of the Thompson, Okanagan, Boundary, Nicola, Cariboo, and East Kootenay regions are home to most of the remaining badgers in BC.
Habitat loss, through housing developments and intensive agriculture, and deaths caused by road mortality, shooting, and poisoning are contributors to the decline of badger populations in BC.
Armed with garbage bags, shovels, gloves and a backhoe, volunteers last weekend removed everything from appliances and bedsprings to glass and tiles from a grassland near Grand Forks which was purchased earlier this year by the Southern Interior Land Trust (SILT).
The cleanup improves habitat for a herd of 200-300 California bighorn sheep, as well as spring and winter range for mule and white-tailed deer who rely on the open, rolling grassland dotted with aspen groves and black hawthorn. It is also habitat for several species-at-risk, including snakes, spadefoot toad, tiger salamander and badger.
The volunteers were members of the Mehmal and Brandow families, the Grand Forks Wildlife Association, the Wild Sheep Society of BC., SILT and other local residents.
Formerly part of the Mehmal Ranch at the end of Morrissey Creek Road, D.L. 492 is 109 hectares (270 acres) of excellent habitat for wildlife, notes Judie Steeves, president of SILT.
Information signs were also posted identifying it as private property now conserved for wildlife. The public is welcome to walk the property at their own risk, take photos and enjoy the natural beauty, but barriers and signs have been installed to inform people that motorized use is prohibited.
The property has a history of damage from abuse by riders trespassing on their ATVs and motorbikes and from illegal dumping, says Steeves. We ask the community to respect that this is actually privately-owned land purchased with donations from a variety of sources to conserve its natural features for wildlife.
SILT is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit charity that works to acquire gems and jewels of wildlife habitat that also act as “stepping-stones” for animal movement. The grasslands surrounding Grand Forks are ecologically significant and host nationally-important and highly-diverse wildlife species.
Acquiring D.L. 492 was made possible by the generosity of the family of the late Walter Mehmal; the B.C. Conservation Foundation; the Brandow family, the Wild Sheep Society of B.C. and its members; the Grand Forks Wildlife Association and other donors, said Steeves.
SILT is currently working to acquire Lot A, D.L. 493, 35-hectares (86 acres) of wildlife habitat that lies adjacent to D.L. 492.
You can help to purchase Lot A and learn more about SILT at: www.siltrust.ca. Tax receipts will be issued for donations of cash, land, and bequests
SILT frequently inspects its properties to ensure they are in good condition and functioning as desired. Edwards Pond is a 50 acre wetland-cottonwood complex near Grand Forks. While it is in great shape we’re concerned about periodic trespass by off-roaders and have had reports of painted turtle needing safe crossing structures as they move to and from their surrounding habitats. Buying the land is not enough! Donations help SILT to keep Edwards Pond and our other conservation properties protected and productive forever. Please donate now!
This ear-tagged and radio-collared male bobcat appeared this week at a Heritage Hills residence south of Penticton. It is not the first time one of SILT’s research cats has spent time in this yard, which is in the heart of great bobcat habitat! SILT is facilitating a Phd study by Trent University looking at how bobcat and lynx interact and use their respective habitats. SILT is interested in where these cats move through the landscape as that information could help guide future habitat management and acquisition.
This cat’s collar was set to drop off last summer so the GPS movement data it contains could be recovered but for some reason the collar has failed to come off. SILT volunteers will continue to try to live capture the cat to remove the collar. If you see it, or any other ear-tagged bobcat or lynx, please call Ross Everatt at 250-499-9840. You can also help by supporting SILT’s work -follow the links on this page to make a tax-deductible donation!