A group of endangered owls were successfully released onto controlled First Nation's land for the first time ever over the weekend.
Burrowing Owls were reintroduced onto lands of the Upper Nicola Band after more than two years of preparation on Sunday.
Burrowing Owls are small, brown and white owls that spend a majority of their time on the ground, living in burrows underground.
Field technicians and cultural advisors identified suitable habitat locations on the reserve as community members created nestboxes and burrows.
The burrows will be home to three breeding pairs of Burrowing Owls, which were hatched and raised by volunteers of the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of B.C.
"These small birds are part of the rich weaving of life in BC's grasslands. They're predators and prey, and they're disappearing from Canada as a result of habitat loss and environmental threats. We've been learning what it takes to bring them back. It starts with conserving grassland habitats, and with the work of people like members of the Upper Nicola Band and volunteers with the Conservation Society,” said Mike Macintosh, Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of BC Director.
Historically, Burrowing Owls were present on the Upper Nicola reserve lands however a survey in 2014 observed that there were no Burrowing Owls in the reserve area.
The reintroduction of the Burrowing Owl onto the land will help increase the declining population of Burrowing Owls in the country.
Each year, a small population of owls migrate south, not returning in the spring. The Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of BC continue to research why the owls do not return for breeding each season.