This handsome medium-sized owl, with its unusual dark-brown eyes, relies on old-growth forests to roost, nest and forage. In Canada, the endangered northern spotted owl is found only in the southwestern corner of mainland British Columbia.
Due to ongoing logging of old-growth forests scientists estimate that less than six owls now remain in the wild in Canada. Currently biologists have been able to locate only three adult spotted owls, including a breeding pair residing in the unceded territory of the Nlaka'pamux community of Spô’zêm (Spuzzum) First Nation, located in the Fraser Canyon area near Hope BC. On February 25, 2021 he BC government announced a one year deferral of logging in Spô’zêm Nation territory - home to Canada's last surviving breeding pair of spotted owls in the wild. The historic population of spotted owls is estimated to have been 500 pairs.
Because of dangerously low numbers of northern spotted owls in Canada, the Wilderness Committee is demanding:
- Permanent strong protection for the valleys that contain the last three spotted owls.
- Protection of all remaining critical spotted owl forest habitat throughout their Canadian range in southwest BC.
- Enough protected forest habitat to accommodate 250 spotted owls
- Proper funding and staffing for BC's Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program
- BC to begin release this year into protected critical habitat captive-bred spotted owls with enough on-the-ground staff support to allow for owl survival.
- The recovery of spotted owls to 250 birds.
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Spotted owls once thrived in the old-growth forests of southwest mainland British Columbia, nesting in centuries-old Douglas fir, western hemlock and western red cedar trees. Once numbering 500 pairs prior to the arrival of settlers, the spotted owl is following the course of more than 30 wildlife species that became extinct in Canada as a result of colonization and out-of-control industrial activities. Only three spotted owls are left in the wild in Canada.