Ecojustice Case – Nature Case Status: Victory

Stopping logging in endangered spotted owl habitat

Devon PageLawyer
Wilderness CommitteeClient
Spotted owl
Spotted owl. Photo: C.M.Corcoran via Shutterstock

The spotted owl was placed on Canada’s endangered wildlife list in 1986. They are believed to be dependent on forests older than 120 years and due to logging of its habitat, it has become one of Canada’s most endangered birds.

Early in 2001, a provincial environmental biologist came to our offices to report that logging had begun in Siwash Creek Valley, north of Hope even though there was a female spotted owl was in residence. One of our staff scientist travelled to the Siwash Creek Valley, and videotaped a female spotted owl roosting.

On behalf of the Western Canadian Wilderness Committee we filed for an injunction. On June 26, 2001, the BC Supreme Court ordered that logging in the Siwash area halt immediately (Western Canada Wilderness Committee v Kennah et al, 2001 BCSC 1840). This was the first time in Canadian history that an injunction had been granted to protect endangered species habitat.

Why was Ecojustice Involved?

Extinction is forever. Loss of habitat is the key cause of decline for more than 80 per cent of Canada’s at-risk wildlife and we believe that industrial and resource extraction projects should not trump environmental protection and the preservation of biodiversity.

What does this victory mean?

This was a landmark victory because it offered an immediate reprieve to the endangered spotted owl in the Siwash Creek valley and because it was the first time in Canadian history that an injunction had been granted to protect endangered species habitat in Canada.

Photo by C.M. Corcoran via Shutterstock

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