Dressed as spotted owls, Greenpeace activists will march from Central Park to the Banff Springs to demonstrate for the protection of species and their habitat to the G-8 environment ministers meeting in Banff.
Organizers are expecting less than 100 protesters to attend the march which will start from the gazebo at Central Park at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday (April 14). Plans for the demonstration have been relayed by activists networks but will mostly attract Banff, Canmore and few Calgary protesters, said Gavin Edwards, a forest campaigner for Greenpeace.
Greenpeace will have on hand 44 spotted owl costumes demonstrators can wear. The spotted owl is a species at risk in the coastal temperate ancient forests of British Columbia. Only 22 breeding pairs are left and the whole species is expected to disappear within five years, Edwards said.
Dressing as spotted owls is intended as a reminder to the environment ministers, who will be attending a meeting in the Hague shortly to discuss the convention on biological diversity, he said.
Canada is in the middle of passing species at risk legislation, said Mike Watson, a researcher for Under the Sleeping Buffalo Research, a local environmentalist organization.
The demonstrators hope the ministers will not go to the Hague empty handed and work to protect species at risk of habitat loss.
Canada signed on to the convention, which could serve as a framework for the protection of species but has failed in its commitment, Edwards said.
"Since Canada signed on to the convention the population of spotted owls has crashed by 40 per cent," he said.
Edwards will speak at a public forum on Saturday (April 13) at the Seniors Centre beginning at 1 p.m. He will present a slide show and talk on ancient forests in crises.
The forum will also include David Swan, a medical doctor and public health specialist who will speak on the health impacts of climate change and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative will present regional conservation challenges and initiatives. Everyone is welcome, admission is free.
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