Manitoba burrowing owls facing dire fate due to recovery program funding cuts
Written by Libby GiesbrechtSunday, Jun 07 2020, 10:39 AM
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The Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program (MBORP) is facing funding challenges. It could close by year's end, and within the decade, Manitoba's burrowing owl population could disappear along with it.
In 2012, there were only ten owls recorded in Manitoba. In response, the recovery program was initiated in 2013 by project manager Alex Froese.
Froese says they rely entirely on public and private sources of funding. However, in the last three seasons, those sources have been declining.
"Without private donations and the private sector, I don't think we can continue. I don't foresee an increase in public funding over 2020 and 2021."
now what a burrowing owl is or haven't seen one, and I think there's a connection when you see what you're trying to save."
There are several contributing factors to the decline of Manitoba's burrowing owl populations. Insects contribute to nearly 80 percent of the owls' diet, and when wet and cold seasons happen, those food sources decline. Other factors involved in endangerment are increased vehicle collisions, habitat converted into farmland, and a loss of burrowing animal species.
"That's a common misconception, and it's even in their name, burrowing owl, and you think they can burrow. They can't and require species like badgers, foxes, and ground squirrels to dig burrows that the owls will take over."