Endangered Animals of Canada
The vast, wondrous beauty of Canada is enriched with incredibly diverse wildlife. From the smallest insect to the largest mammal, the country proudly hosts some of the most beautiful creatures on the planet. But with great beauty comes great responsibility, and as the dominate species on the planet we have been charged with the task of caring for these animals. There have been times throughout history when we as a people failed in this and a species was lost. Today, despite watch groups and dedicated scientists, our wildlife continues to disappear. At present there are over 600 animals and plants in the At Risk Public Registry.
We are considered to be living during a time of great threat to our wildlife. Never before has there been so many humans populating the world and our activity is continually threatening the ecosystems and upsetting the balance of nature. We build shopping centres, residential developments and parking lots all the while not paying much attention to the habitats that are destroyed in the process.
There are five different classifications that the Government of Canada uses to keep track of this growing problem:
Extinct –a species that no longer exists in Canada or elsewhere.
Extirpated – a species that no longer exists in Canada’s wild but lives elsewhere in the world.
Endangered – a species that may become extinct or extirpated.
Threatened – a species at risk of endangerment in Canada if the nothing is done to stop the problem.
Vulnerable – a species, who because of declining numbers (or other reasons), is at risk.
Nine species are currently extinct in Canada: Dawson’s Caribou, Sea Mink, Great Auk, Labrador Duck, Passenger Pigeon, Deep-water Cisco, Longjaw Cisco, Banff Longnose Dace, and the Blue Walleye.
The Woodland Caribou is on the endangered list because of the destruction of the Boreal Forests. The Golden Eagle lives in Ontario but is endangered because of loss of habitat. Chemical dumping in the ocean has put the Killer Whale on the list as well. Pollution has killed so many Spotted Turtles that they too are now on the list. Amphibians represent the largest animal group threatened with endangerment and extinction. One third of the world’s population of amphibians are threatened and, if they were to become extinct, it would be an event as epic as the loss of dinosaur life on the planet.
A common factor in all of these creatures is the fingerprint of humanity. More must be done to protect Canada’s wildlife. In 2003 the Species at Risk Act was introduced, and yet many delays in implementing the Act have had a direct impact on threatened species. Awareness plus action is the only hope for our vulnerable, threatened and endangered species.