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Video-game firm joins effort to protect bald eagle habitat

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner T.J. Watt stands among giant old-growth red cedar trees in the Echo Lake ancient forest.

TJ Watt/Ancient Forest Alliance

A Vancouver-based video-game company has joined an environmental group's quest to protect a bald eagle habitat, and plans to integrate the bird of prey into its games.

East Side Games announced its support for the Ancient Forest Alliance initiative during a news conference Wednesday. Jason Bailey, the video-game company's chief executive officer, said he is writing a "significant" cheque to the environmental group. But he said the company's contribution won't stop there.

"There is a plan to integrate this campaign directly into the games," Mr. Bailey said. "… to take an eagle character and put it directly into the games … and make it one of the awesome items in the game that you really want to have – that will also increase awareness of this campaign."

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The Ancient Forest Alliance is trying to save about 50 hectares of old-growth forest at Echo Lake, east of Mission. Ken Wu, the organization's executive director, said the area is home to hundreds of roosting bald eagles each fall, and also features giant red cedar trees and extremely rare old-growth Douglas firs.

The B.C. government last month invited the public to comment on Fraser Valley land-use plans. The deadline is Nov. 5. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Forests said last week concerns about Echo Lake will be considered in the process. She said the province is looking at a proposal to designate 1,500 hectares in the area for wildlife management, which could protect winter feeding areas for eagles

Mr. Wu said while the B.C. government's proposed old-growth management area would protect a portion of Echo Lake's old-growth forests, it doesn't go far enough.

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