Amphibians and reptiles ("herpetofauna") occur in all 9 regions of British Columbia (B.C.), the majority of which are classified as Species at Risk (CDC 2014, Appendices 1, 2A, & 2B; Figure 8). Herpetofauna in B.C. frequently are in conflict with industrial development activities, as their occupied habitats often overlap with those that are also favorable for human use. Many of the life history and physiological characteristics of herpetofauna cause them to be particularly susceptible to human disturbance, including habitat site fidelity, dependence on both aquatic and terrestrial habitats, and vulnerability during periods of dormancy.
All native amphibians and reptiles are designated as ?Wildlife? in B.C., giving them full protection under the Wildlife Act (Section 2.1). As such, any development project located in or near habitats occupied by these wildlife must take measures to avoid killing or injuring these animals. Avoiding the impact should always be the first option considered (Section 1.2). If the impact cannot be avoided, a permit must be obtained to capture, hold, and relocate these wildlife to a safe location (summarized as a "salvage operation").
Amphibian and reptile salvages have become more common in recent years, due to increased conservation concern for this group, combined with increased efforts by the provincial government to ensure regulatory compliance with the Wildlife Act. Unfortunately, the same characteristics that make herpetofauna vulnerable to development also causes them to be susceptible to salvage operations. As such, standardized best practices for amphibian and reptile salvages have been widely recognized as an urgent need by resource professionals, government and the private sector in B.C. The objectives of this document are to:
1) Provide guidance for the avoidance of salvage operations;
2) Provide guidance for the safe and efficient capture, handling, translocation and release of herpetofauna that minimizes impacts to both translocated and recipient populations;
3) Facilitate an effective and efficient permitting process by clarifying expectations and supporting consistent salvage implementation, and
4) Ensure that the activities associated with development projects do not violate the Wildlife Act.
Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. 2016. Best Management Practices for Amphibian and Reptile Salvages in British Columbia. Province of BC - Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Topic: Guidelines and Best Management Practices
Keywords: Amphibian, reptile, salvage, BC British Columbia
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