Through the Simpcw Sq̓ítxleqs Study, Simpcw Natural Resources Department and Estsék are committed to addressing the complex challenges that are contributing to the decline of sq̓ítxleqs (American badger, Taxideataxus jeffersonii) populations in British Columbia. The study specifically focuses on the Thompson Jeffersonii population in the lower North Thompson River drainage. This region, located in the dry Southern Interior ecoprovince in Simpcwúl̓ecw̓ (Simpcw Territory), has historically been home to a variety of plant and animal species. 

Crucial for productivity and overall survival of these species, wildlife habitats on the tmicw, or land, in the territory are being impacted by human development and encroachment into wild spaces. Development projects, such as road construction and expansion, residential, rural, and agricultural development, have a significant detrimental effect on sq̓ítxleqs populations in the territory. 

The study aims to address the challenges to the survival of sq̓ítxleqs through three primary objectives. The first objective is to assess the distribution and population status of sq̓ítxleqs in Simpcwúl̓ecw̓, with an emphasis on their vital role as keystone species. 

Secondly, we are addressing the significant threat of road mortality by collaborating with our partners to develop a road mitigation strategy that will benefit badger populations. Lastly, our project includes extensive community engagement and awareness activities to promote responsible land use and improve public understanding of badgers and their habitats. 

To achieve this, two distinct programs will be implemented. The first program takes a proactive approach to combating badger population declines, focusing on mitigating road mortality through road culvert assessments and maintenance, and identifying key wildlife migration corridors. The second project aims to provide Simpcw with a more comprehensive understanding of population dynamics, such as population numbers, habitat use, and prey availability, by utilizing hair-snagging devices and wildlife cameras. 

 With this, and other projects, Simpcw is laying the groundwork for Indigenous-led stewardship and envisions a future in which traditional knowledge harmonizes with modern science, aiming to restore and maintain pre-contact biodiversity of Simpcwúl̓ecw.