Vancouver vegan cheese shop told they can no longer use the word ‘cheese’ in packaging – BC

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A vegan cheese shop in Vancouver has found itself at the centre of a fight over the definition of cheese.

The Blue Heron Creamery makes and sells plant-based cheeses, yogurts, and butters.

However, after receiving a complaint, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has ordered them to stop calling their products ‘cheese’.

The legal definition of cheese states that it is made from milk.


READ MORE:
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Blue Heron has also been told they can’t even describe their products as either plant-based or dairy-free vegan cheese, which are terms other similar Canadian businesses have used.

Chef and co-owner Karen McAthy said “what we are seeking is clarity on what we can and cannot do.”

“Is there room to expand what the word means or are we going to be stuck in industry battles?”

The company is still trying to figure out how to proceed.

“The feeling is obviously full of frustration and confusion,” Colin Medhurst from Blue Heron Creamery told Global News.

The CFIA did not provide a statement to Global News Monday but did send a link to labelling standards of food in Canada.

“We’ve always labelled and made it really clear in our packaging that we are dairy-free and plant-based,” Medhurst said. “So for us the frustration is that we’ve tried to show a lot of clarity and work within the process to not fool consumers.”

“So to be told that cheese itself is this unattainable and unusable word, unless you are using the tradition dairy-based form, is a little ridiculous.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Vancouver Police search for missing senior with dementia  – BC

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Vancouver Police are asking for the public’s help to find 67-year-old Glen McKim.

He was last seen Sunday, February 17 at 2 p.m. in the area of Granville Island. Mr. McKim has a number of medical issues, including dementia.

Mr. McKim is described as white, 5’8” tall, medium build, and with balding salt-and-pepper hair. He was last seen wearing a grey jacket over a grey shirt, and black pants. He is not expected to be using a walker.

Anyone who sees Glen McKim is asked to call 9-1-1 and stay with him until first responders arrive.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘I feel like I’ve been deserted:’ B.C. woman trapped in Haiti says Canada not doing enough to help – BC

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A woman with roots in Kelowna says Ottawa is letting her down as political unrest in Haiti has left her trapped in the Caribbean nation.

“I’m crushed, I feel like I’ve been deserted,” Laura Allan told Global News on Sunday.


READ MORE:
Alberta missionaries among the Canadians heading home from riot-stricken Haiti

Allan is currently stuck in Jacmel on Haiti’s southern coast where she’s been doing aid work with her organization Shelters International Disaster Response.

Other groups of Canadians returned to Calgary and Montreal over the weekend, but Allan says roadblocks and looters have made it too dangerous for her to travel to the airport in Port Au Prince.

She says the Canadian government should be doing more to help her and the 20-odd Canadians she says are still in the Jacmel area.

WATCH: Trio of Maritime medical professionals share their harrowing escape from Haiti






“There is no way for any of us to get through this unless we are air-evacuated or by sea,” Allan said.


READ MORE:
Trio of Maritime medical professionals share their harrowing escape from Haiti

In a statement Sunday, Global Affairs Canada said they are on top of the situation in Haiti and they are making consular services there available to Canadians who need it.

Haiti has been gripped by political violence and unrest as demonstrators call for the resignation of President Jovenal Moise over skyrocketing inflation and a scandal over oil imports.

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Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs calls out ‘racist and sexist’ treatment of Wilson-Raybould

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A group of First Nation leaders is calling on the prime minister to quash what they view as  « racist and sexist innuendo » dogging Veterans Affairs Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould

The former justice minister is at the centre of recent claims that the Prime Minister’s Office pressured her to help Quebec -based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.

Over the weekend, The Canadian Press ran a story quoting anonymous sources who described Wilson-Raybould as someone who had « become a thorn in the side of the cabinet » before she was shuffled to her new role last month. She was also called « someone … [who] was difficult to get along with, known to berate fellow cabinet ministers openly at the table, and who others felt they had trouble trusting. »

A source, described as an « insider who didn’t want to be identified, » told the news agency that Wilson-Raybould has « always sort of been in it for herself » and « everything is very Jody-centric. »

Those comments « cowardly low blows, » says a statement released Tuesday by the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

« They perpetuate colonial-era, sexist stereotypes that Indigenous women cannot be powerful, forthright and steadfast in positions of power, but rather confrontational, meddling and egotistic, » says the news release from the group, which has been critical of the Liberal government in the past on pipeline issues. 

« These comments from your staff must be recognized for what they are — blatant sexism. »

Investigation launched 

Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes also leapt to her caucus colleague’s defence online, tweeting Sunday that Wilson-Raybould is « fierce, smart, and unapologetic. »

« When women speak up and out, they are always going to be labelled. Go ahead. Label away. We are not going anywhere, » she wrote.

« It has been reported by insiders of your government that she was someone ‘who others felt they had trouble trusting’ and has reportedly ‘been in it for herself’ such that « everything is very Jody-centric. »

The B.C. group — headed by Grand Chief Stewart Phillip —  urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau « to take responsibility for your behaviour and that of your government, » and called into question his commitment to the Crown-Indigenous relationship.

« If you do not condemn these harmful statements and apologize … you not only reaffirm a colonial belief system that Indigenous women are inferior and disposable, but the hypocrisy of your professed feminism and ‘most important relationship’ with Indigenous people will be laid bare for all Canadians to see, » the group’s release concludes.

On Monday, federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion launched an investigation into allegations the PMO wanted Wilson-Raybould to direct federal prosecutors to make a « deferred prosecution agreement » (DPA) — a deal akin to a plea bargain — to avoid taking SNC-Lavalin to trial on bribery and fraud charges.

Dion informed the NDP MPs who requested the investigation that there is sufficient cause to proceed with an inquiry.

Watch the Power Panel discuss the latest developments in the SNC-Lavalin controversy

The Power Panel – Rachel Curran, Brad Lavigne, Yolande James and John Paul Tasker discuss the federal ethics commissioner’s announcement that he’s looking into the SNC-Lavalin controversy. 11:58

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As RCMP investigated casino money laundering, police distrust of B.C. government grew

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Senior police officers were concerned B.C. government officials might have leaked information that “compromised” October, 2015 RCMP raids targeting sophisticated alleged underground casinos in Richmond, B.C., according to records from a B.C. Lottery Corp. whistle-blower.

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The records obtained by Global News and source interviews suggest that as RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) unit ramped up casino money laundering and underground banking investigations in 2015, senior police and B.C. Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch (GPEB) investigators increasingly viewed B.C. Lottery Corp. (BCLC) — and possibly others in B.C.’s government — with distrust.


READ MORE:
B.C. casino ‘knowingly accepted’ millions from banned loan shark, audit alleges

Notes taken by Ross Alderson, BCLC’s former head of anti-money laundering, say that on Oct. 19, 2015 he and senior Vancouver Police anti-gang officer Mike Serr discussed co-ordinated RCMP raids that took place on Oct. 15, 2015 as part of the E-Pirate investigation.

WATCH: Global investigation raises more money laundering concerns






And there were serious concerns that the suspected illegal casino operators may have gotten advance warning that police were watching.

“Discussed sensitivity in sharing information as Operation was compromised,” Alderson’s notes say. “No. 4 Rd Location had original warrant date (Oct 14) circled on a calendar. Concerns Govt knew more than Senior Police did.”

The E-Pirate raids of 11 locations, including an alleged underground bank in a Richmond office building and luxurious homes that RCMP said hosted illegal casinos, targeted a suspected organized crime loan shark named Paul King Jin and a number of Lottery Corp. high-rollers from China, according to Alderson’s notes.

“11 locations hit – Some residential. No arrests at gaming houses (vacant),” Alderson’s notes say.


READ MORE:
‘BCLC could have stopped this’: Former casino investigators question whether officials unwilling to stop criminal activity

Serr, who is now the chief of Abbotsford Police, said he could not comment for this story.

Alderson’s notes contain a detailed breakdown of the cash, computers, and casino equipment the RCMP say they seized in the E-Pirate raids. About $6 million in cash was seized, and three Baccarat tables, plus 7,000 decks of new cards, according to police.

And there were two illegal casinos, including a mansion on Richmond’s No. 4 Road, with “29 surveillance cameras,” and stacks of chips that could have come from Lottery Corp. casinos, according to allegations in the notes.

But the alleged casinos believed to be run by Chinese Triads appeared to have been quickly abandoned.

Global News asked the RCMP and B.C.’s government whether information was believed to be leaked that compromised E-Pirate raids, and whether there have been investigations into the integrity of information sharing between RCMP and B.C.’s government. By deadline they had not responded to questions.


READ MORE:
Secret police study finds crime networks could have laundered over $1B through Vancouver homes in 2016

Global News has been unable to reach Jin directly or through his lawyer for comment on the allegations. No charges have been filed. Charges were stayed in the E-Pirate investigation, and the B.C. combined forces anti-gang and illegal gaming unit has made a number of arrests in a related investigation. Evidence is now being reviewed by B.C. crown prosecutors, and its not known whether charges will be laid.

Alderson told Serr that the Lottery Corp. was aware of the location of the alleged gaming houses and lists of Chinese VIPs believed to be connected to Jin, his notes say. BCLC also knew high levels of B.C.’s government had been briefed, according to Alderson’s notes.

Alderson’s notes said that he and Serr “agreed that a lot of people had inside knowledge of this operation but reiterated no one (to my knowledge knew of any dates of the operation).”

“I talked about concerns that (BCLC’s) gaming expertise may not be utilized through cutting BCLC out,” Alderson’s notes on the call with Serr, concluded. “Assured him that BCLC did not know dates of operation.”

But sources with knowledge of the perspectives of GPEB and RCMP investigators, said that GPEB investigators had joined a special task-force in the spring of 2015 and accompanied RCMP on the E-Pirate raids in October. And the B.C. gaming regulator investigators later openly complained that the raids had been compromised.

WATCH: B.C. union calls for casino money-laundering public inquiry in B.C.






Growing distrust

According to Alderson’s notes, even before the compromised E-Pirate raids, he had learned by September 2015 that senior police in B.C. and GPEB investigators were losing trust in the Lottery Corp.

But back in February 2015, according to Alderson’s records, the Lottery Corp. and RCMP apparently had agreed to share information for a targeted probe of Jin.

On Feb. 12 at the Lottery Corp.’s head office in Vancouver: “BCLC met with RCMP (federal serious and organized crime) to lodge a complaint (of) cash drop offs at Casinos involving a male by the name of Paul ‘King’ JIN who was believed to be associated to organized crime,” a report filed by Alderson says. Alderson told Serr that the Lottery Corp. was aware of the location of the gaming houses and lists of Chinese VIPs believed to be connected to Jin, his notes say.

On July 20 and 22, Alderson had discussions on the Jin file with senior RCMP officer Calvin Chrustie. A report from Alderson says that Chrustie advised him of investigations into underground banking at an alleged Richmond “cash house” as well as probes of gamblers in Lottery Corp. and illegal casinos.

The RCMP had “uncovered that potentially some of the funds at the cash house were linked to transnational drug trafficking and terrorist financing,” Alderson’s report says.

Alderson’s records say that in the following days, officials including Lottery Corp. executives, and high-level officials in B.C.’s government were briefed on the bombshell information.


READ MORE:
A B.C. money laundering public inquiry is backed by every demographic that was asked in this Ipsos poll

But for some reason, information sharing with the Lottery Corp. had gone sour by September 2015, according to a report filed that month by Alderson.

In his September 2015 report, Alderson wrote he had “received information that senior police had directed their operational staff to deal with GPEB rather than BCLC. Comments were made that there had been unwillingness by BCLC leadership to address, what was in the police’s eyes, clear acceptance of huge volumes of cash which ‘one could reasonably suspect were likely proceeds of crime.’”

In response, BCLC said that it takes money laundering seriously, and that in advance of E-Pirate, from late 2014 through February 2015 BCLC asked the RCMP to investigate suspected loan sharks.

WATCH: Were B.C. casino staff connected to money-laundering suspects?






BCLC stated: “a senior official of the RCMP advised that while BCLC should continue to share information with the RCMP and complete suspicious transaction reports, that official also cautioned BCLC not to take any other action without first discussing it with the RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime, ‘so as not to impede any ongoing criminal investigation.’”

While Serr is not with the RCMP, court filings show that throughout 2015, RCMP’s FSOC and Vancouver police had overlapping drug-trafficking and casino money laundering probes focused on a transnational Chinese gang connected to a massive alleged underground bank in Richmond with suspected links to Latin American and Middle East drug traffickers.

International anti-money laundering officials estimate the Richmond underground bank laundered over $1.2 billion per year for international narcos.

sam.cooper@globalnews.ca

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New insect found in B.C. caves could be a survivor from Ice Age

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A newly discovered cave-dwelling species of insect found in British Columbia could be a survivor from the last ice age, scientists say.

Haplocampa wagnelli, the arthropod found in a limestone cave near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, is about three to four millimetres long, with six legs, no eyes and a whitish, almost transparent colour.

Alberto Sendra, lead author of a study published in the journal Subterranean Biology last week, said the little bug’s existence opens up possibilities of how species survive in different climates and conditions.

« This is a very intriguing species because it looks like it lived underground in caves — for more or less a long time, » Sendra said in an interview.

« This means they can survive in the glacial period. And this is very remarkable because there are no examples of species that live in subterranean areas so up north. »

Sendra, a professor of animal biology at the University of Alcala in Madrid, said there is a possibility the insect migrated north from the United States and settled in the caves in Vancouver.

He said he could not say how old the insect is — just that it is primitive, and its discovery raises a number of questions.

« How can they survive there? It opens up the possibility in the future to search for species in other places where nobody looks for them, » he said.

« We always look in warmer climates in the south and this species suggests we need to look for this more in the Northern Hemisphere. »

Named after B.C. caver

The insect’s name pays tribute to caver and study co-author Craig Wagnell, who has spent years exploring caves on Vancouver Island.

A group from the Central Island Caving Club, including Wagnell, first recorded the critter in 2017, and Sendra said he spent the last year studying it.

Unlike most cave-adapted species that are elongated and slender, this insect has only slightly elongated antennae and legs and a thicker body, according to a news release announcing the study.

It also shows a close relationship with species found in Japan and Siberia, which is evidence for dispersal events where populations would cross over the land bridge that used to connect America and Asia, the release stated.

The study said Vancouver Island has more mapped and explored caves than the rest of Canada combined, and many contain unique features, including streams and rivers running through them most of the year.

The caves help the streams maintain constant water temperatures and quality year round, which helps support a variety of fish and wildlife, the study said, noting little has been done to protect the caves from logging, mining and recreational practices.

Some of the caves have been misused and more needs to be done to protect them and the unique wildlife they support, researchers said.

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Anti-pipeline protesters shout at Trudeau during campaign event in Burnaby, B.C

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says some people will choose the politics of anger, fear and division, but Liberals will stay focused on serving Canadians, bringing people together and building a better future.

He made the remarks after a small group of anti-pipeline protesters began shouting at him at a campaign event to support Richard T. Lee, the Liberal candidate in the Burnaby South byelection. 

Trudeau joined Lee at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, where dozens of supporters cheered as Trudeau said he expects Lee to be a strong voice in Parliament for residents of Burnaby, B.C.

Lee is a former provincial legislator who replaced the Liberals’ first candidate, Karen Wang, after she resigned following an online post mentioning the ethnicity of her opponent, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

Singh is seeking his first seat in Parliament in the byelection, scheduled for Feb. 25, and earlier today he attended the annual Chinese New Year parade in Vancouver.

A small group of demonstrators clad in yellow vests also greeted Trudeau outside the Burnaby event to protest his government’s policies on immigration.

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Trudeau rallies for Burnaby South candidate Richard T. Lee – BC

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended a campaign rally Sunday night for the Liberal party’s candidate in the critical Burnaby South byelection in B.C.

Trudeau was shouted down by a small but vocal group of anti-pipeline protesters, responding that some people will choose the politics of anger, fear and division, but Liberals will stay focused on serving Canadians, bringing people together and building a better future.

Trudeau says B.C. is a leader in environmental advocacy, specifically referencing the province’s carbon tax.

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“We have demonstrated in B.C. that putting a price on pollution allows you to grow the economy while creating good jobs for everyone. That’s the path we have because we know there’s not a choice to be made between the environment and the economy anymore. They have to go together.”

Trudeau has clashed in recent months with B.C.’s provincial government over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project on Burnaby Mountain. Ottawa recently bought out the project for 4.5 billion dollars.

Trudeau championed Richard Lee as a voice for the Burnaby South riding, throwing punches at former prime minister Stephen Harpers’s administration as an example of local MPs who would echo whatever the federal government wanted.

“We saw it all the time, that the local MPs were voices for Ottawa in the ridings. Well, that’s not what the people here in Burnaby South want, that’s not what the people right across Canada need. We need strong local voices standing up for you, fighting for you in Ottawa.”

The February 25 byelection in Burnaby South is an important one for the Liberals and for the federal NDP, whose party leader Jagmeet Singh is running in the riding.

Singh, who moved to Burnaby last year with his wife to run in the riding, is counting on taking Burnaby South in order to solidify his status as party leader, secure a seat in the House of Commons and make a run for the prime minister’s seat in the federal election in October.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘We’re holding up a floodgate’: B.C. fights off superbugs brought home by medical tourists

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The risks involved in medical tourism aren’t just personal. Having surgery abroad could also mean bringing back a drug-resistant superbug and putting people in this country at risk, B.C. officials warn.

That alert comes after the recent discovery that two patients at New Westminster’s Royal Columbian Hospital had been colonized with the multidrug-resistant yeast Candida auris. Though neither patient is infected with the bug, the two join just a handful of cases that have been identified in B.C. since 2017.

Dr. Linda Hoang, medical co-director for the Provincial Infection Control Network (PICNet), said most of these cases have come from travellers who have had treatment overseas, including medical tourists.

It means patients need to do serious research on the facilities they’re considering for surgeries or other treatments abroad, including looking for objective information about the presence of any drug-resistant microorganisms.

« It’s not only a problem in India or Southeast Asia. It is endemic in parts of the U.S. and parts of Europe, » Hoang told CBC News.

« It [antibiotic-resistant superbugs] is a global problem, and the only way to to be aware of them is to make sure that health-care professionals are informed and our residents are informed when they’re seeking health care outside of British Columbia. »

It’s a sobering reminder for those who travel abroad for medical treatments, whether it’s to skip the surgery wait list in B.C., access therapies that aren’t approved in Canada or save money on cosmetic therapy. Some of the top destinations for medical tourists from around the world include India, Mexico, Southeast Asia, Brazil and Turkey, according to the Medical Tourism Association.

But facilities in other countries can sometimes take a more haphazard approach to prescribing antibiotics, and overuse can trigger the evolution of resistance to these crucial drugs.

India a major source of bug

The two colonized patients at Royal Columbian were isolated after the bug was discovered, and the hospital has been aggressively cleaning all areas they had visited, using UV light for disinfection, according to Fraser Health.

C. auris was first identified in Japan in 2009, but it has popped up since then in countries around the world.

It acts much like any other yeast species, causing infections in wounds, the bloodstream and the ears, but the real problem is how to treat it.

« The only real reason why we’re concerned or interested in monitoring Candida auris is because of that potential resistance profile, making it difficult to treat with the anti-fungal agent that we have, » Hoang said.

The biggest risk of infection right now seems to come from Indian facilities, Hoang said.

A microscopic image, at left, shows Candida auris cells. At right is a culture of the yeast in a petri dish. (The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries)

The bug was confirmed for the first time in B.C. in July 2017 in a patient who’d been treated in India. As it turned out, that traveller also came back with infections from multiple other drug-resistant organisms.

B.C. doesn’t track whether infected people travelled abroad as medical tourists or simply required medical treatment because of an emergency during their voyages.

But patients who have had medical treatment outside B.C. for any reason are a major source of these superbugs, she said.

They include so-called CPOs — carbapenemase-producing organisms like Klebsiella, E. coli and Pseudomonas that have become resistant to broad-spectrum antibiotics, which Hoang describes as the « last resort » for treatment.

In 2017-2018, PICNet recorded more CPO cases than ever before, and more than half of them were from people who had accessed health care overseas, Hoang said.

‘There’s only so much we can do’

The key for anyone who chooses to have surgery abroad —​ and anyone who needs medical attention while travelling —​ is to let your B.C. doctor know when you return. That way, the doctor can check you for any drug-resistant bugs you may have picked up and give you the appropriate medication if you get sick.

Being open with that information protects everyone around you.

« If you require health care in British Columbia, you are running the risk of spreading that into our facilities. And that’s not a good thing for your neighbouring patients, who might be very sick and vulnerable, » Hoang said.

She said B.C. is aggressively monitoring returning travellers for drug-resistant superbugs, but the real key to stopping their spread will be eliminating the excessive use of antibiotics that allows these micro-organisms to evolve resistance.

« We’re basically holding up a floodgate, and unless the problems are addressed in these countries where antibiotics are used with minimal regulation and control, there’s only so much we can do, » Hoang said.

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Resilient insect newly discovered in B.C. cave may be survivor from Ice Age

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A newly discovered cave-dwelling species of insect found in British Columbia could be a survivor from the last ice age, scientists say.


READ MORE:
The bugs we need — bees, ladybugs, butterflies — appear to be dying off, scientists say

Haplocampa wagnelli, the arthropod found in a limestone cave near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, is about three to four millimetres long, with six legs, no eyes, and a whitish, almost transparent colour.

Alberto Sendra, lead author of a study published in the journal Subterranean Biology on Tuesday, said the little bug’s existence opens up possibilities of how species survive in different climates and conditions.

“This is a very intriguing species because it looks like it lived underground in caves – for more or less a long time,” Sendra said in an interview.

WATCH: Monarch butterfly count increases 144 per cent






“This means they can survive in the glacial period. And this is very remarkable because there are no examples of species that live in subterranean areas so up north.”

Sendra, a professor of animal biology at the University of Alcala in Madrid, said there is a possibility the insect migrated north from the United States and settled in the caves in Vancouver.

He said he could not say how old the insect is – just that it is primitive, and its discovery raises a number of questions.

Global News

Help us improve GlobalNews.ca

“How can they survive there? It opens up the possibility in the future to search for species in other places where nobody looks for them,” he said.


READ MORE:
Cockroach milk? Insect dairy alternatives could be the next superfood trend

“We always look in warmer climates in the south and this species suggests we need to look for this more in the Northern Hemisphere.”

The insect’s name pays tribute to caver and study co-author Craig Wagnell, who has spent years exploring caves on Vancouver Island.

A group from the Central Island Caving Club, including Wagnell, first recorded the critter in 2017, and Sendra said he spent the last year studying it.

Unlike most cave-adapted species that are elongated and slender, this insect has only slightly elongated antennae and legs and a thicker body, according to a news release announcing the study.

WATCH: Bedbug battle – study suggests insects developed thicker skin to beat insecticides






It also shows a close relationship with species found in Japan and Siberia, which is evidence for dispersal events where populations would cross over the land bridge that used to connect America and Asia, the release stated.

The study said Vancouver Island has more mapped and explored caves than the rest of Canada combined, and many contain unique features, including streams and rivers running through them most of the year.

The caves help the streams maintain constant water temperatures and quality year-round, which helps support a variety of fish and wildlife, the study said, noting little has been done to protect the caves from logging, mining and recreational practices.

Some of the caves have been misused and more needs to be done to protect them and the unique wildlife they support, researchers said.

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