B.C. needs more parks and protected areas if the province hopes to maintain its outstanding diversity of wildlife.
That was one of the messages delivered by Jared Hobbs, guest speaker at the Scout Island Nature Centre’s annual fundraising banquet held at St. Andrew’s United Church hall, April 15.
Hobbs, who is based in Victoria, is a registered professional biologist, nature photographer and environmental educator.
Hobbs said B.C. owes its incredible diversity of wildlife to having 17 different habitat types that support 677 different species of vertebrates.
“That’s a lot compared to other provinces,” Hobbs said. “Each broad habitat type is home to a different community of organisms.”
Of the 16 owl species in Canada, he said B.C. has 15 of them.
Of the 19 species of bats in North America, he said B.C. has 17 of them.
B.C. also has nine species of snakes, which is more than any other province except Ontario, he said.
“Again and again and on it goes,” Hobbs said. “We just have this incredible species diversity in B.C.”
He said a quarter of B.C.’s wildlife species are threatened or endangered due to loss of habitat.
Poor urban planning, poor grazing and forestry practices, road kill, and inconsiderate use of wild lands are some of the contributing factors to the loss of wildlife, he said.
He said that parks and protected areas in B.C. will not adequately protect wildlife and their habitats because they are primarily in high elevation areas of the province that don’t support the vast majority of B.C.’s wildlife species.
“Anything that impacts habitat has a negative impact on animals,” Hobbs said in an interview following the presentation.
“We are humans and we are going to have an impact. That is understood. I drive a car, I live in a house that is made of wood. Our responsibility as humans is to make informed and considerate decisions – that’s my conservation message.”
Consider your impact on other species when you drive your vehicle through a mud bog on the weekend for fun, or drink bottled water, he said.
During the presentation Hobbs provided lots of interesting photographs and information about B.C.’s grasslands, bats, birds, snakes and other wildlife.
Hobbs has worked throughout the province on many of British Columbia’s rarest species and was the 2006 recipient of the international Shikar-Safari conservation award for his dedication to the preservation of species and ecosystems.