Habitat Destruction is the #1 Threat to the Survival of Animals

Earth Rangers Empowers Children to Help Protect Habitat for Native Species

WOODBRIDGE, ON, Sept. 8, 2014 /CNW/ - What would you do if the place you call home was taken away from you? That is exactly what's happening to the eastern wolf, western screech owl, swift fox and bobolink. These animals are all losing the wild spaces they need to survive due to land development, agriculture and deforestation.  Starting this month, Earth Rangers across Canada will work together to protect these animals.

Earth Rangers is dedicated to educating children and families about biodiversity and empowering them to take action through a unique program called Bring Back the Wild. This national education and fundraising initiative teaches children about the importance of protecting animals by preserving their natural habitats and gives them the tools to make a tangible contribution to conservation projects developed to ensure the survival of four native species each year. Through their own Bring Back the Wild campaigns kids will make a direct impact on the survival of these threatened species.

Since launching this program in September 2010, over 270,000 kids have registered to become Earth Rangers and over $1.6 million has been raised for Bring Back the Wild conservation projects.

Now in its fifth year, this kid-powered conservation program announces four new conservation projects:

EASTERN WOLF: With less than 1,000 of these powerful predators left in Canada, eastern wolf populations are threatened by forest habitat loss due to logging and land degradation, along with illegal harvesting and human persecution. Earth Ranger's Bring Back the Wild project, in collaboration with Dr. Brent Patterson of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, will purchase GPS satellite collars to help learn more about this apex predator's movement patterns, current distribution and habitat use in and around Algonquin Provincial Park.

WESTERN SCREECH OWL: The interior western screech owl population is extremely small. Habitat loss due to development, large-scale agriculture and hydroelectric projects is the main threat facing this owl. Earth Ranger's Bring Back the Wild project, in collaboration with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, will support nighttime population surveys to estimate the current population size, distribution, number of breeding territories and habitat needs in southeastern British Columbia.

SWIFT FOX: As little as 35 years ago there were no swift foxes left in the wild in Canada due to prairie habitat loss, disease, trapping and hunting. While re-introductions have been successful, new populations face the same threats. Earth Ranger's Bring Back the Wild project, in collaboration with the Calgary Zoo, will support the installation of cameras in areas where swift foxes are thought to live, to provide critical data about their population size and habitat use in southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan, including Grasslands National Park.

BOBOLINK: Bobolinks are losing the wild spaces they call home due to loss of native grassland habitats and open pasture land that these songbirds depend on for breeding. Earth Ranger's Bring Back the Wild project, in collaboration with the Couchiching Conservancy and QuebecOiseaux, will help restore bobolink habitat by removing cedar trees from grasslands and planting native prairie grass seed, monitor the number of bobolinks born in restored habitat versus unrestored habitat, purchase geolocators to learn more about their migration patterns and help farmers manager their land in ways that will help protect bobolinks.

During the 2014/2015 school year, Earth Rangers will visit more than 600 schools across Canada to speak to students about the issues facing Canadian wildlife and get them excited about protecting animals and their homes. Throughout the school year, Earth Rangers' educators will visit schools in every province, delivering the program in both English and French.

Earth Rangers educational programs are undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada. With the National Conservation Plan, the federal Government is building a stronger Canada, a country that cares about conserving its natural heritage and a country where we can all enjoy the beauty of nature from coast to coast to coast.

About Earth Rangers: Earth Rangers is a conservation organization dedicated to educating children and families about biodiversity and inspiring them to become directly involved in protecting animals and their habitats. To strengthen children's inherent connection to wildlife, Earth Rangers communicates a positive science-based message about the importance of protecting animals by preserving the natural spaces they need to survive and adopting more sustainable behaviours. Through an award-winning children's website, www.earthrangers.com, national School Outreach Program and a variety of family engagement initiatives, Earth Rangers reaches, inspires and enables millions of Canadians each year to take action to help ensure the lasting survival of species in Canada.

Please explore our online community:


www.earthrangers.com (children)

="http://twitter.com/@EarthRangers" target="_blank">www.twitter.com/EarthRangers

www.earthrangers.org (corporate)



Image with caption: "Earth Rangers educates children about the importance of biodiversity and empowers them to take action to protect animals by preserving their natural habitats through their Bring Back the Wild program. This year kids can choose to help protect the eastern wolf, bobolink, swift fox or western screech owl. (CNW Group/Earth Rangers)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140908_C3510_PHOTO_EN_5365.jpg

SOURCE: Earth Rangers

For further information: Lori Marier, Media Relations, Earth Rangers, 905-417-3447 ext. 2281, lmarier@earthrangers.com


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