Key grassland habitat conserved in southern Saskatchewan

Critical property is home to a number of endangered and threatened species

A hawk sits in the grass Expand Image

The announcement of a new conservation site in the southwest corner Saskatchewan provides a new lease on life for a host of threatened species.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada and its partners recently announced the protection of the Zen-Ridge property, a 195-hectare grassland habitat containing rolling hills, grasslands andseasonal wetlands.

The property, located close to the village of Consul, is unique in many ways — it is home to a herd of genetically pure plains bison, it is a nocturnal preserve with spectacular views of the Milky Way, and it provides habitat for small herds of pronghorns and several imperiled species, such as burrowing owls, long-billed curlews, swift fox and ferruginous hawks.

Portions of land have been designated as critical habitat for greater sage-grouse (endangered) and chestnut-collared longspur (threatened).

The protection of the Zen-Ridge property was the result of support from a number of partners: the Government of Canada through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program; the Government of Saskatchewan through the Fish and Wildlife Development Fund; and many individual donors who supported this conservation project through NCC’s grasslands campaign.
A look at just a few of the species that will benefit from the announcement:

Coyote pups play in the grass Expand Image
Coyote pups play Expand Image
Cutline: Coyote pups photographed on the Zen-Ridge property.
Two ground squirrels stand on a hill of dirt Expand Image
Richardson’s ground squirrels group their burrows together in colonies.
A hawk sits in the grass Expand Image
A hawk flies just above the ground Expand Image
This Swainson’s hawk was photographed on the Zen-Ridge property.

Are you passionate about Canadian geography?

You can support Canadian Geographic in 3 ways:

Related Content


The land holds memories

“All the mischiefs humans and the universe are capable of inflicting on an ecosystem have conspired to attack the prairies.” 

  • 6274 words
  • 26 minutes
A woman stands alone looking out over an empty prairie under a cloudy blue sky


Guardians of the grasslands

How conservationists and ranchers in Saskatchewan are working to slow the loss of an endangered ecosystem

  • 2346 words
  • 10 minutes
The North American grasslands at sunset


How cattle ranching can help preserve species at risk in Canada’s grasslands

Agriculture can play an important role in protecting and restoring critical habitat on the Prairies

  • 1167 words
  • 5 minutes
Gordon Hempton records audio in Grasslands National Park

Science & Tech

The sounds of silence 

A sound artist listens for quiet in Grasslands National Park

  • 5035 words
  • 21 minutes