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"Huntables and Fishables" vs. the Van. Isle Marmot PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Wednesday, 20 July 2005 02:27
"Huntables and Fishables" vs. the Van. Isle Marmot

PEJ News:
Ingmar Lee - BC Government more interested in "Huntables and Fishables" than the virtually extinct Vancouver Island Marmot.


"Huntables and Fishables"
vs. the Van. Isle Marmot
Ingmar Lee

PEJ News
July 20, 2005

Today I visited the Province of BC's opulent office of the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund, Wild BC, and Naturescape BC. These organizations are all consolidated in the same office at Suite 100-333 Quebec St. in Victoria. (http://www.hctf.ca/ ) The name Province of BC was proudly embossed on the wall above the names of its 'conservation partners,' just behind the front reception desk.

Well, given my recent regular discussion with Dr. Andrew "Mr. Marmot" Bryant about the status of wild populations of Vancouver Island marmots, I thought I should drop in to find out how the HCTF and its associates might be contributing to the protection and restoration of the habitat of Canada's most endangered species.

Of course, as Bryant told me over the phone just last week, there is no effort whatsoever to protect and preserve marmot habitat from the depredations of the Marmot Recovery Project's principle financiers, -namely, TimberWest and Weyerhaeuser, who continue logging throughout marmot habitat.

It is still unclear whether BRASCAN will now assume Weyerhaeuser's responsibilities and commitments to the 'Marmot Recovery' effort, now that the giant American logging company has cut and run from our island. BRASCAN, of course, is a real-estate developer and there?s a heck of a lot more money in Bear Mountain-style subdivision than logging the 30-year-old pecker-poles abandoned by Weyerhaeuser.

The problem is that wild marmots are hardly reproducing out there in the marmot meadows, which are now completely surrounded by the voracious clearcutting which has denuded all of their connectivity habitat. In fact, as was confirmed by Bryant, the Green Mountain marmot site, which as recently as 2000 supported the largest
colony of
Vancouver Island marmots, is now officially extinct. Meanwhile, clearcutting of old growth at the top of Green Mountain continues apace, while 30-year-old second growth is simultaneously stripped off at the bottom.

Last week I spoke to the new American Exec. Dir. of the Marmot Recovery Foundation, Robert Huber, who said that "loggers working in the vicinity of marmot habitat had been told to stop work if they happened to see a marmot,? and he added that he "had never heard of a marmot being killed or injured by falling trees." Basically, the BC Government and Logging industry's conservation vision for
Vancouver Island marmot habitat is: perpetual logging.

lthough the planet's final 22 remaining wild V.I. marmots are having great difficulty reproducing and continue on their steady march to oblivion, Weyerhaeuser and TimberWest's captive breeding laboratories are working overtime to pump out marmots. Every year, a new crop of marmot pups is dutifully spread out over the extinction zones, in the hope that somehow, the lab-bred marmots will 'take.' Even the newly appointed BC Environment Minister, Barry Penner was up there for a cuddly-marmot photo-op a few weeks ago, helping out with this year?s release.

The management vision the logging industry uses for their clearcut-conversion, chemical-plantation, fibre-per-year-per-hectare scheme for BC?s forests, is that annual 'replants' are required when the original broadcast of cloned seedlings fails to 'take.' Similarly, when successive annual releases of lab-bred marmot pups don't survive the winter, empty marmot meadows are simply classified NSR, or "not sufficiently restocked," and are slated for a repeat distribution.

Although everyone involved with the Marmot Recovery project will tacitly admit that logging is the primary cause for the extinction of the marmots, nothing is being done to protect that landbase. Readers will recall that concerted wolf and cougar culls have been continually associated with the project, and just last year, the
Campbell government embarrassed the province and shocked the world by secretly killing off Golden eagles, ostensibly for the benefit of the marmots.

Starving predators struggling to survive on a denuded landscape are eating marmots according to telemetry data obtained by marmot scientists. In the prevalent short-term thinking process of logging-industry-funded scientists who are bought to argue that black is white, predation is blamed for the extinction. To those who see the nakedness of the Emperor, it?s only habitat protection and restoration which will save them.

When I asked the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund?s Biological Services manager, Liz Stanlake, what her organization was doing to protect the habitat of
Canada's most endangered species which is dying out not three hours from her office, her response was: "Well, we're primarily focussed on huntables and fishables."

She justified this by mentioning that their core funding is derived from hunting and fishing licence revenues.
On April 7th, just before the election, WLAP Minister Bill Barisoff announced that $5.7 million dollars was being allocated to the HCTF, for 116 fish and wildlife conservation projects across BC, including half a million for Steelhead.

Campbell government is only interested in propagating species which generate income from being killed by sport hunters and fishers. There are, regrettably, no revenue prospects for Vancouver Island?s beleaguered marmots

The outrageous government/industry collusion over the farcical Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Project just keeps on getting more and more hypocritical, as Campbell and his ?conservation partners? direct public revenue to a special interest lobby whose conservation priority is simply ?huntables and fishables.?

Cheers, Ingmar

(I'm off to India tomorrow to do graduate studies at Pondicherry University. I've tried to do what I could to help the marmot, but it has been a lonely battle, without a stitch of help. It sure would be nice if anyone of BC's environmental organizations will finally take up the tragic, hypocritical issue of the demise of the Vancouver Island marmot. Regretably, I predict that it will have gone entirely extinct whenever I get back.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 July 2005 02:27

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