The South Okanagan with its rolling native grasslands is a ‘hot spot’ for biodiversity, and is one of the most at risk regions in Canada. The natural areas within this region have been extensively fragmented and degraded by human development and agriculture. In order for biodiversity to flourish alongside human culture, natural areas must be preserved, protected, and connected so wildlife have the resources to fulfill their needs, like feeding, migrating and breeding.
We need your help to conserve and maintain Skaha Lake Eastside – Lot 1 and expand The Nature Trust of BC’s Skaha Lake Eastside Property Complex, located south of Penticton in the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen. Lot 1 adds 72.2 acres (29.2 hectares) to the Nature Trust’s conservation complex, which is adjacent to the McTaggart-Cowan/nsək’łniw’t Wildlife Management Area. The 6,491-hectare Wildlife Management Area was established primarily for the protection and management of Bighorn Sheep habitat and Skaha Lake Eastside – Lot 1 will add important foraging, lambing and escape terrain for this iconic species.
Bighorn Sheep depend on a variety of habitats to maintain a healthy herd. In the summer they graze in higher elevation grasslands and open forest, near rocky bluffs. In fall they descend to lower elevations for mating and spend the winter in low elevation grasslands, mature open ponderosa pine or Douglas-fir forest, rocky bluffs, and dry, open rocky areas. Their winter habitat must include rocky ‘escape terrain’ – cliffs, slopes or dense forest patches – to avoid predators. Spring is lambing season and they return to the same birthing places each year, on steep rocky bluffs and cliffs near grasslands.