Canada Environmentalists Demand Protection for Owls
VANCOUVER A coalition of environmental groups filed a suit Tuesday demanding Canada protect northern spotted owls from being driven to extinction by logging on the Pacific Coast.
The suit estimates only 23 of the wild birds survive in British Columbia, and accuses federal officials of failing to prevent the province from allowing loggers to cut down the old growth forests they need as habitat.
"We will not sit on the sidelines and watch the B.C. government log the spotted owl's habitat until this creature disappears from Canada," said Joe Foy of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, one of the groups involved.
The environmentalists say Canada's federal environmental minister has delayed making a decision to protect the owls under the country's Species At Risk Act. They want the Federal Court to order officials to take action before the owls die.
British Columbia says it has taken adequate steps to protect the habitat for the remaining owls that live in the southwestern area of the province.
The province's agriculture minister told CBC news the new legal action was grandstanding.