Spotted Owl

In Canada, the endangered northern spotted owl is found only in the southwestern corner of British Columbia. This handsome medium sized owl, with its unusual dark-brown eyes, relies on old-growth forests to roost, nest and forage.

Due to ongoing logging of the old-growth forests of southwestern British Columbia scientists estimate that less than a dozen owls now remain in the wild in Canada. The historic population of spotted owls in Canada is estimated to have been 500 pairs.

Because of the declining numbers of the northern spotted owls, the Wilderness Committee is asking for: 

  • The recovery of spotted owls to 250 birds as recommended by the Spotted Owl Recovery Team.
  • The protection of all occupied and unoccupied intact spotted owl forest habitat.
  • The recovery of fragmented spotted owl forest habitat.
  • A total of enough protected forest habitat to accommodate 250 spotted owls.

Learn more


Google Map of New Spotted Owl Wildlife Habitat Areas in the Chilliwack Forest District
These newly created Wildlife Habitat Areas (WHAs), in green colour, provide stronger protection from logging for most of the important spotted owl sites in the Chilliwack - Hope - Fraser Canyon area than the previous special management areas. However, several sites around Harrison Lake still have weaker special management status (yellow colour) and some exceptions for logging have been granted in some of the stronger protected WHAs, such as in the Chilliwack Lake WHA.

View New Spotted Owl Wildlife Habitat Areas in Chilliwack Forest District in a larger map

Google Map of Proposed Logging in Chilliwack Lake Spotted Owl Habitat Area
Below, the red areas are Tamihi Logging Ltd. most contentious three approved cutblocks at Post Creek that are being cut right now inside a Spotted Owl Wildlife Habitat Area, while the light green shaded areas show the extent of the Chilliwack Lake/Depot Creek Spotted Owl Wildlife Habitat Area (WHA) adjacent to Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park. The orange areas are other cutblocks that have been approved at Ford Mountain inside the WHA, while the yellow areas are cutblocks proposed, but not yet approved by Tamihi inside the WHA. If you click on the cutblocks, The first number you will see is the cutblock id number and the second number is the amount of area in hectares of each cutblock.

View Logging in Chilliwack Lake Spotted Owl Wildlife Habitat Area in a larger map

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Recent Developments

16 weeks 5 days ago

For decades we’ve been working hard to convince our provincial and federal governments to protect the old-growth forest habitat of the endangered northern spotted owl in southwest BC (the only place in Canada where the owl lives).

And now we’ve got a new map that shows Wildlife Management Areas (WHAs) that have recently been designated by the BC government as off-limits to logging. 

2 years 5 weeks ago

March 9th, 2012 - Read Joe Foy's Wild Times column in the Watershed Sentinel as he compares the People's Trails in Vietnam and British Columbia.

2 years 8 weeks ago

This morning trees started coming down in a protected spotted owl Wildlife Habitat Area (WHA) near Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park.

Take Action

Spotted Owls Need Real Protection Now!

Please help protect the critically endangered spotted owl by writing to provincial decisionmakers in BC—urge the provincial government to end logging in the owl's old-growth forest habitat, and let them know how important it is that British Columbia enact a provincial endangered species law!

In early 2013, the public got wind that the BC government had approved a controversial strategy aimed at protecting the critically endangered Northern spotted owl. The strategy involves relocating and in some cases killing barred owls—a different, larger owl species that has been encroaching on the spotted owl’s dwindling old-growth habitat.

An FOI filed by the Wilderness Committee uncovered internal government emails from 2011 referencing the killing of barred owls as a recovery tool for spotted owls. Over the past five years, provincial ministries have relocated 73 barred owls and authorized the shooting of 39 of these birds.  Click here to read a news article about the controversy.

This is a desperate measure, and it goes without saying that culling one species to protect another is never something we’re happy about. The situation should have never gotten to this point, but decades of industrial logging and the destruction of the spotted owl’s old-growth forest habitat has brought the species to the brink of extinction. It is estimated that less than a dozen birds are left in the wild in southwestern BC—the only place they are found in Canada. However, the province continues to allow logging in key spotted owl habitat, even though scientists agree that habitat loss is the single greatest threat to the spotted owl .

You can take action by writing a letter to BC's Premier and the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, urging them to end logging in spotted owl habitat for good, and asking that the province recruit additional habitat to recover the owl to 250 birds.

This would also be a great time to remind our provincial leaders that British Columbia is in desperate need of its own stand-alone endangered species legislation, to ensure the protection of the 1,900 species at risk in this province that are currently unprotected by the hodge-podge of weak regulations that currently exist.

Press Releases

WC In the News

Sunday, July 28, 2013 (All day)
Globe & Mail
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 (All day)
Chilliwack Times
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