Monte Creek Winery is running its second annual campaign to support endangered badgers through the end of this month.
B.C. badgers, also known as Taxidea taxus jeffersonii, are only found in this province and there are fewer than 350 of them are left.
They are red-listed and ranked S2, or imperilled, by the BC Conservation Data Centre.
After learning that the stretch of Highway 1 between Lafarge Bridge and Pritchard west of Kamloops — which is right outside the winery — has the highest badger kill numbers in the province, Monte Creek Winery decided to help the badgers by fundraising and increasing awareness.
“Last year was our first year running this campaign. It impacted our team to learn that badgers are an endangered species in B.C. and that highway kills are the leading cause of their deaths,” said Ashley Demedeiros Cox, Monte Creek’s marketing manager.
“Our winery is next to two major highways. We feel a responsibility to bring awareness and support the conservation of these vital ecosystem members in the Thompson Valley.
The winery is hoping to exceed last year’s fundraising tally of $800 to support the efforts of conservation groups.
Through July 31, Monte Creek Winery is selling buttons and accepting donations. The winery is also auctioning off two original badger paintings created by local artists Ron Parker and Alina Schevchenko.
The BC Wildlife Park will also receive money raised from selling postcards and the proceeds collected by auctioning off two commissioned paintings that Bloom the badger graciously donated to the cause.
All of the paintings being auctioned can be seen at https://www.montecreekwinery.com/silent-auction-support-bc-badgers/
Halting highway mortality
Highway mortality is a leading cause of badger deaths in B.C. because they cross large land areas during their mating season in July and August.
Monte Creek Winery has also been working with Leonard Sielecki, manager of the wildlife program with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Rich Weir, a spokesman for the BC Badger Society conservation group and a biologist with the Ministry of the Environment.
In 2021, they assessed the culverts along the highway outside the winery as badgers and other wildlife use them. Plans are in place to clear out any clogged culverts to ensure wildlife can pass under the highway. The next steps are to hopefully put up badger crossing highway signs and to support research projects around badger conservation.
Badger sightings can be reported to the BC Badger Society via its website at http://badgers.bc.ca/report-a-badger/.