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Killer Whale

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A joy to spot in coastal waters, orcas are among the most threatened marine mammals.  In British Columbia, there are three distinct killer whale groups, each with different territories, behaviours and genetics.  

Resident orcas live in matrilineal groups and specialize on hunting Chinook Salmon.  They are divided into a northern population and a southern population.  Transient orcas are marine mammal specialists, hunting seals, sea lions, porpoises and other whales.  The habits of offshore orcas are poorly known, but they likely feed on large ocean fish like sharks and halibut.

The northern resident, southern resident, and transient killer whales are all listed as species at risk.  The endangered southern resident killer whale population has been reduced to just 87 individuals. 

Click here to read about a recent federal court decision mandating protection of killer whale habitat.

Click here to learn much more about BC's killler whale populations


Purple Martin

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The largest North American swallow species, this graceful bird hunts insect on the wing and is known for its musical pre-dawn singing.  The spread of European Starlings caused devastating population crashes of this species in the 20th century.  Purple Martin's readily nest in artifical nest boxes, and nest box construction and installation programs have been important to species recovery efforts.

Click here to learn more about this species at risk.

Click here to learn how you can help Purple Martins.

Painted Turtle

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Sample imageA biological treasure, the Endangered Pacific Coast Western Painted Turtle (WPT) delights many outdoors enthusiasts and visitors to Sunshine Coast lakes and wetlands. BC’s only remaining native freshwater turtle species, the WPT is vulnerable to wetland loss and degradation, destruction of nesting habitat, predation, human disturbance, alien species, and mortality on roads intercepting nesting areas.

The Sunshine Coast is home to the most important remaining populations of WPT in coastal BC, with the largest number of known occupied sites and individual turtles. However, research indicates that these turtles are declining and face multiple significant threats. Because these turtles live around lowland lakes and wetlands, areas highly prized by humans, the majority of their habitat coincides with private land. Action is urgently needed to help ensure the survival of this imperilled species.

Big-eared Bat

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Big beautiful ears make this creature stand out from the rest! Blue-listed in BC, Townsend's Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) is at risk due to its small provincial population size, sensitivity to disturbance and low reproductive rate.

In the summer, females gather in maternity colonies, often in buildings, while males roost singly at a variety of locations.  In the winter, Big-eared Bats hibernate in caves, mines and buildings.

Distributed throughout Western North America from BC to Mexico, populations of Big-eared Bats are declining in many parts of the species range, particularly in Washington and Oregon.  Human disturbance of roost sites is thought to be the main factor in these declines

Learn more about this fascinating species:



Screech Owl

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Thees night fliers are considered indicators of healthy riparian ecosystems.  They are non-migratory and roost in tree cavities in large old dead and dying trees.  Habitat loss and removal of snags have negatively impacted the species. Recent declines in Screech Owl populations have coincided with increases in populations of Barred Owls, and predation by Barred Owls may play a role in population declines.  

The coastal subspecies of Screech Owl is listed federally as a Species of Special Concern, while the interior subspecies is Endangered. 


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