VANCOUVER (News release) -- Canfor Corporation announced a $50,000 contribution to help the Village of Radium Hot Springs reach it's $400,000 campaign goal to Save the Radium Bighorn Herd.
Radium Hot Springs' magnificent Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep are recognized as a species of special concern, reflecting the vulnerability of these beloved animals.
'As a forestry company with a significant presence in the Kootenay Rockies region of B.C., we are very proud to make this contribution supporting conservation of the Radium-Stoddart herd,' said Michelle Ward, Senior Director, Communications & Government Relations. 'The community, including our own employees who call Radium home, has shown great commitment to increase awareness of the risks faced by the sheep and to accelerate the building of a safe wildlife overpass for Radium's One Mile Hill.'
Once at a population of 250, the herd's numbers have dropped by more than half and are now less than 120 animals. On average about 10 sheep have been killed yearly in vehicle-wildlife collisions, the majority on Highway 93 south of the Village. Recently, highway deaths have spiked and are on trend to supersede these concerning numbers.
Residents have rallied together to save the sheep through various community efforts, including the 'Slow Your Roll, Save The Sheep' driver awareness campaign, conducting sheep patrol and spearheading a community-driven fundraising effort targeted at raising 10 per cent of the construction cost of a wildlife highway overpass. An overpass is considered the gold standard solution to address the long-time community issue. Acting as a wildlife bridge, it would help keep the sheep away from highway traffic, allowing the animals to safely cross their winter and spring ranges, while also keeping people and vehicles on the highway safer.
"Canfor has been a strong, long-time community partner and with safety as a fundamental pillar of its culture, it's no surprise that Canfor has chosen to support this initiative," said Mayor Clara Reinhardt. "The bighorn sheep are much celebrated residents in our mountain community. We are grateful for this significant investment that gets us closer to realizing a win-win solution to make Radium safer for sheep and for people."