This video is part of a series of nine films on Protecting British Columbia's Species at Risk.
The elusive western skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus) is one in only two lizard species that live in British Columbia. The skink is shy and has a striking blue tail meant to distract predators.
In April 2011, Mike McKinlay and myself accompanied Elizabeth Vincer on a field trip to look for skinks at the Vaseux-Bighorn National Wildlife Area in the Okanagan Valley, one of the sites where the species is most abundant. The southern Okanagan region is developing fast, which means the skink is increasingly at risk of losing its habitat. The species was federally designated as “Special Concern” by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) in 2002 due to its low population size and ongoing habitat lass. In BC, the Western Skink is blue-listed. Skinks play a significant role in the ecosystem and are an important prey item for other species at risk such as the endangered Desert Night snake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea) and the threatened Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus).
For more information, visit: protectbiodiversity.ca
Video directed by Mike Mckinlay and Isabelle Groc
Camera and editing by Mike Mckinlay mikemckinlay.com
Research, story and interview by Isabelle Groc tidelife.ca
Music by George Faulkner
Video produced by the Wilderness Committee.
This project would not have been possible without the support of the Vancouver Foundation.