March 27, 2014 - 1:20 PM
VANCOUVER - A non-profit conservation group has bought a huge tract of private land in southern British Columbia to preserve the province's disappearing grasslands.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada says the new 743-hectare Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area near Osoyoos, B.C., is home to more than 30 species at risk.
Barb Pryce, area director for the group, says among the most surprising discoveries are sage thrashers — an extremely threatened species with only a handful of breeding pairs remaining in Canada.
Biologists also found canyon bats, a tiny species that has never before been recorded in this country.
Pryce says the group had to compete with developer interest for the arid desert land, and while the area will be open to the public, it will be closed to future development.
The total price tag for the project is $4.4 million, which came from the federal government, several conservation foundations and individual donors.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2014