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April 3, 2018

The Trust Receives Donation of 684-acre Conservation Easement

Mountain lions, imperiled species, migratory birds benefit from land's protection

WARNER SPRINGS, CA - The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust announces receiving the donation of a conservation easement on 684 acres of vital habitat in Warner Springs, California, from Ann Peckham Keenan. The newly established Peckham Keenan Wildlife Sanctuary is in one of the nation's top areas of biodiversity and supports several imperiled species.

The Trust's permanent protection of this prime habitat is particularly beneficial for mountain lions – a species crucial to maintaining ecological balance. As a Trust sanctuary, the land also provides a place of respite from the pressures many wildlife species face from commercial and recreational hunting and trapping. The Trust is the only national land conservation organization that always makes this humane stewardship commitment on lands it protects.

Ranging from steep, mountainous terrain to rolling hills, the sanctuary is set on the slopes of the Volcan Mountains of San Diego County. It is almost completely surrounded by publicly protected lands, including the San Felipe Valley Wildlife Area, which adjoins Anza Borrego Desert State Park – California's largest state park. Preserving this important habitat linkage with a conservation easement ensures wildlife will forever be able to safely raise their young here and disperse or move among the surrounding protected wildlands.

Abundant water features also make the Peckham Keenan Wildlife Sanctuary crucial for wildlife. These include part of San Felipe Creek – one of the region's last remaining natural perennial desert streams and San Diego County's most important inland migratory flyway – as well as several springs and ponds. Willows, sycamores and alders border the sanctuary's riparian areas, and other habitats include oak woodland savanna, scrubland chaparral and hardwood conifers. Two federally endangered bird species are known to live here: least Bell's vireo and southwestern willow flycatcher.  Ann – a knowledgeable birder – has tallied an impressive 109 bird species on the property. Other wildlife species the property supports include mountain lions, bobcats, southern mule deer, badgers, gray foxes, coyotes, striped skunks, granite spiny lizards and Pacific tree frogs.

Property owner Ann Peckham Keenan says, "Human population growth, habitat destruction and climate change are having devastating effects on our planet and are the cause of the Sixth Great Extinction we are currently experiencing. Because of this, it is essential that we set aside as much land as possible to be sanctuary for all forms of wildlife, so that they can survive and thrive for their own benefit. Working with the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust to create a sanctuary on my property that permanently protects the land from future development AND prohibits grazing, hunting, trapping, fishing and invasive research in perpetuity is a vital step I can take in that direction."

Ben Callison, president of the Trust, says: "The Peckham Keenan Wildlife Sanctuary is a true habitat gem, and we are deeply grateful to Ann Peckham Keenan for her vision, compassion and dedication to helping wildlife by permanently protecting her land with the Trust. As part of a vital inland migratory flyway and a linkage among other protected lands for mountain lions and other far-ranging mammals, the Peckham Keenan Wildlife Sanctuary is a perfect example of the wild, connected and diverse lands we must permanently protect to help wild animals flourish in the face of sprawling development, industrial agriculture and other human-caused threats."

A conservation easement is a permanent and legally enforceable agreement between a landowner and a land trust. The landowner agrees to establish the property as a permanent wildlife sanctuary – an agreement that is binding on all future owners of the property – and the Trust enforces the terms of the agreement. The terms of the Trust's easements always include the prohibition of commercial and recreational hunting and trapping, a crucial component of the Trust's humane conservation mission.

Media Contact: Mark Manoff, 203.247.0152, mark.manoff@comtelinc.com

The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust is an affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's most effective animal protection organization. Since 1993, the Trust has participated in the protection of more than 400,000 acres of wildlife habitat in 39 states and nine foreign countries, including 4,042 acres in California. On all properties owned by the Trust or protected by the Trust's conservation easement, we prohibit commercial and recreational hunting and trapping and restrict logging and development. The Trust's commitment to these principles will never change as we continue partnering with caring landowners to permanently protect their lands as safe forever homes for wildlife. For more information visit wildlifelandtrust.org.

 

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