VANCOUVER -- It will now be easier for a threatened population of southeastern British Columbia grizzly bears to find new mates with a larger grizzly population to the east.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada has added 150 hectares to a conservation corridor that runs through the Creston Valley, making a safer passage for the South Selkirik species of grizzlies as they move through the Selkirk and Purcell mountains.

The so-called Frog Bear Conservation Corridor will also benefit the northern leopard frog in the only known breeding location in B.C. for the endangered amphibian.

The cost of conserving two parcels of land is $1.4 million, and includes property that will serve as a gateway for bears moving down from the mountains.

The conservancy's Nancy Newhouse says researchers have mapped out the movements of the bears through the valley and know the corridor is vital for the prospects of the South Selkirk grizzly population.

Experts say connecting the two populations of grizzlies is considered critical for the bears' long term prospects allowing the at-risk grizzlies to find new mates.