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B.C. should protect its Rockies for grizzlies, wolverines: conservation group

Grizzly bear Grinder, right, knocks snow onto playmate Coola as he tries to dig out of their den after five months of hibernation at Grouse Mountain ski resort's wildlife refuge in North Vancouver, B.C. The two male bears were found orphaned in different areas of British Columbia in 2001.

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

A conservation group says British Columbia should establish "safe havens" for wildlife in the southern Rockies to preserve habitat where animals will be able to flee the effects of climate change.

Wildlife Conservation Society Canada says the area often overshadowed by Banff National Park in Alberta and Glacier Park in Montana supports a diverse range of wildlife.

WCS scientist John Weaver says global warming means winters with less snow cover and shrinking streams will affect species such as grizzlies, wolverines and even trout. Mr. Weaver suggests a management area be established in the southeast corner of B.C. to provide range where animals can relocate in the future.

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His report also recommends a provincial or national park in the nearby Flathead River basin, an area where the provincial government banned mining and drilling more than a year ago over U.S. concerns for Glacier Park south of the border. Mr. Weaver says protecting lands for wildlife now will help ensure their survival in the future.

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