Endangered Species in Canada

Topics: Extinction, Endangered species, Biodiversity Pages: 5 (1465 words) Published: April 5, 2013
What are the current condition of endangered species in Canada? What are the major factors that cause species endangerment?
What are the actions the Canadian government had been taken to save them?

Canada is one of the biggest places on earth with extensive wilderness protected areas that are providing home for more than 70,000 wildlife species. Among the rest, 488 species are categorized by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) as extinct, extirpated, endangered, threatened, or of special concern. It is important to prevent extinctions and facilitate recovery of species at risk. This paper will identify the current conditions of endangered species, analyze the major causes of species endangerment, and introduce the protection policies established by Canadian government.

Current Condition of Endangered Species in Canada
"As of May 2002, 30 animal and plant species had disappeared in Canada. Eleven of these species are no longer found anywhere on the Earth." - This dreadful number was found on the website of Natural Resources Canada, tells us the situation of most of the endangered species are very unenthusiastic. The website said that the southern areas of Canada have the largest number of endangered species, where human activity is most extensive and intensive. However, in Jeremy and Josef (2004) argued that areas with high species richness are likely to have more endangered species while all else being equal. The south Canada has the highest species richness, due to the milder climatic conditions, increased habitat heterogeneity, and far greater human modification of terrestrial landscapes. Consistently, southern Vancouver Island, southern British Columbia, the southwestern prairies, and southern Ontario have the highest density of endangered species according to their analyses. This is not saying that southern areas have higher species richness so that the density of endangered species is higher, instead, it is relatively proportional.

Causes of Species Endangerment
Oscar et al. (2006) analyzed the causes of endangerment and quantified the threats endangered species are facing. In their analysis, endangered species are facing 2.2 kinds of the 6 broadscale threats on average. They break the 388 species listed above by COSEWIC into 12 taxon, they are vascular plants, freshwater fishes, birds, terrestrial mammals, reptiles, marine mammals, molluscs, amphibians, lepidopterans, marine fishes, mosses, and lichens. The most common threat is habitat loss, threatening 84% of species, which is caused mostly by agricultural (28%) and urban land conversion (27%). Compare to the other species, freshwater fishes, marine fishes, and marine mammals is less threatened by habitat loss. Overexploitation is the second biggest cause of endangerment, affecting 32% of endangered species. This rate is much higher than the findings for the United States and for the world according to Wilcove et al. (1998). Overexploitation affect the marine mammals and marine fishes the most, 88% and 94%, respectively, and also reptiles and terrestrial mammals, 65% and 47%, respectively. Followed by native species interactions and natural causes, they are identified as threats to 31%, 27% of endangered species respectively. It is notable that pollution and introduced species, both of which are considered to be major threats to endangered species by most of the peole in Wilson's (1992) study, are the least threats affecting only 26% and 22% species respectively. Furthermore, pollution is the second-ranked threat after overexploitation for freshwater fishes (51%) and also threatens a similar proportion of amphibians (53%).

Canadian Government's Efforts and Results
Canadian government was putting efforts on wildlife by enacting Acts like the Fisheries Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act, National Parks Act, Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial...

Bibliography: COSEWIC (1998). Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. List of Canadian Species at Risk.
Jeremy, T. K., & Josef, C. (2004). Ecological Applications. Patterns and Causes of Species Endangerment in Canada, 14(3), pp. 743–753.
Isabelle, E. D., & Jeremy T. K. (2006). Conservation Biology. Protected Areas and Prospects for Endangered, 20(1), pp. 48–55.
Kerr, J. T., & J. Cihlar. (2001). National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Remotely sensed habitat diversity predicts butterfly species richness and community similarity in Canada, 98:11265–11370.
Kerr, J.T., & T. V. Burkey. (2002). Biodiversity and Conservation. Endemism, diversity, and the threat of tropical moist forest extinctions, 11:695-704.
Oscar, V., Nathalie, N. B., Leah, N., Brenna, B., Ivan, J. D., & James W. A. G. (2006). BioScience. Threats to Endangered Species in Canada, 56(11):903-910.
Wilcove, D. S., Rothstein, D., Dubow, J., Phillips, A., & Losos, E. (1998). BioScience. Quantifying threats to imperiled species in the United States, 48:607-615.
Wilson, E. O. (1992). Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press. The Diversity of Life.
Richard, D. L. (2001). The Species At Risk Act: An Overview, Report No. 408.
Environtment Canada (2011). Canada’s Protected Areas. Retrieved from:
Natural Resources Canada (2009). The Atlas of Canada. Retrieved from:
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