Bighorn Sheep are blue-listed as an at risk species. (Submitted)

Nature Trust of B.C. buys 32 hectares of Bighorn Sheep land in Penticton

Skaha Lake Eastside property adds important habitat for foraging, lambing, and escaping predators.

The Nature Trust of British Columbia has purchased 32.9 hectares (81.3 acres) of ecologically important land in Skaha Lake Eastside.

The property expands The Nature Trust’s Skaha Lake Eastside conservation complex, south of Penticton. This new property is adjacent to the McTaggart-Cowan/nsək’łniw’t Wildlife Management Area and provides valuable habitat for several species at risk including Bighorn Sheep.

Due to the loss and fragmentation of their habitat, Bighorn Sheep distribution has been reduced in the Okanagan. Human activity has disrupted their lifecycle, decreased their population size, and increased their susceptibility to disease.

The Skaha Lake Eastside conservation complex adds important habitat for Bighorn Sheep for foraging, lambing, and escaping predators. Due to its ecologically rare and important ecosystems including grasslands, open forests, and rocky terrains, Bighorn Sheep can have all their needs met on this property and the surrounding area including birthing lambs in the spring.

“The east side of Skaha Lake represents some of the most iconic and spectacular vistas and terrain the Okanagan has to offer. Increasing the resiliency of this conservation complex by protecting it in perpetuity is a remarkable accomplishment for NTBC, our partners and the wildlife that depend on these lands for their survival,” said Jasper Lament, CEO, The Nature Trust of BC.

Open and native grassland cover less than one per cent of B.C.’s land base and provide habitat for more than 30 per cent of BC’s species at risk. Grasslands support more threatened and endangered plants and animals than any other habitat type in the province.

Species at risk known to frequent the property include provincially blue-listed Bighorn Sheep, federally-listed Pallid Bat, American Badger, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Western Screech Owl, Desert Nightsnake, Western Rattlesnake, and Great Basin Gopher snake.

In March, the Nature Trust of BC added 252 acres of ecologically important land in South Okanagan, to the White Lake Basin Biodiversity Ranch conservation complex, an extensive conservation area covering 20,317 acres (8,222 hectares) near Willowbrook.

READ MORE: The Nature Trust of BC adds 252 acres of ecologically important land in South Okanagan

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