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Recovering species at risk

Target 5.1: Terrestrial and aquatic wildlife conservation – Population trend (when available) at the time of reassessment is consistent with the recovery strategy for all listed species at risk (for which recovery has been deemed feasible) by 2020.

Of the 48 species deemed feasible to recover by Environment Canada, 21% (10) have population trends that are consistent with the goals laid out in the recovery strategies, 8% (4) do not, and 71% (34) need to be reassessed.

The government has taken action to protect and conserve Canada's rich and abundant biodiversity. The government continues to implement the Species at Risk Act (SARA), undertaking species assessments, consultations, listing and recovery planning.

In 2012, the government committed $50 million over the next two years to support continued efforts under SARA to protect wildlife species, maintain healthy ecosystems and preserve Canada's natural heritage. In addition, proposed or final recovery strategies addressing 190 species at risk were posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry, including 47 proposed or final recovery strategies. As of November 2012, 510 terrestrial and aquatic species of animals and plants are listed under SARA as Endangered, Threatened, of Special Concern or Extirpated.

Also in 2012 a final recovery strategy for Boreal Caribou was released that offers a strong, practical approach to conserving the species. The recovery strategy follows engagement with the public, Aboriginal communities, government, industry stakeholders, environmental non-governmental organizations and academia across Canada and more than 19,000 public comments were received and analyzed during the development of the recovery strategy.

In 2011, Polar Bears were listed under SARA as a species of Special Concern. As a result, a management plan must be prepared within three years. The management plan will build on the National Polar Bear Conservation Strategy, and its ultimate aim will be to alleviate human threats in order to remove the Polar Bear from the Species at Risk list.

The government continues its efforts to support the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). In the report Wild Species 2010: The General Status of Species in Canada, a total of 11,950 species were assessed from 20 different taxonomic groups.

The government continues to lead and cooperate with provinces and territories by providing expert advice on species at risk, migratory birds and their habitats for the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring, and high-profile environmental assessments, including the nuclear project in Darlington and the Lower Churchill hydroelectric development projects.

Overall, Canada's science programs provide research and monitoring, as well as advice, products, services and data management to help guide departmental and federal policies, programs, decisions and regulations for managing Canada's terrestrial, oceans, and fish and wildlife habitat resources.

Internationally, Canada's work to fulfill its obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora contributes to the conservation of species in Canada and abroad.

For additional information related to this target, please consult the following websites: Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Parks Canada.

Progress towards Target 5.1: Percentage of species at risk with Environment Canada recovery strategies where the population trend at the time of reassessment is consistent with the strategy (interim indicator)

Between 2006 and October 2011, Environment Canada developed final recovery strategies for 52 species, although it was determined that only 48 of these were feasible to recover. Of the 48 species deemed to be feasible to recover by Environment Canada, 21% (10) have population trends that are consistent with the goals laid out in the recovery strategies, 8% (4) do not and 71% (34) need to be reassessed, as illustrated by Figure 4.2.

For the most up-to-date information on this indicator, please visit CESI.

Figure 4.2: Trends in population sizes of species at risk compared to recovery strategy objectives, Canada, 2011

Trends in population sizes of species at risk compared to recovery strategy objectives, Canada, 2011

Long description

The flow chart shows the number of species at risk in Canada as of 2011 that have been deemed feasible to recover, the number of those species that have been reassessed since final recovery strategies were developed, and, of those species, the species that have population trends consistent or not consistent with the goals laid out in recovery strategies. Between 2006 and October 2011, Environment Canada developed final recovery strategies for 52 species. Forty-eight of these species are deemed feasible to recover. Of those 48 species, 14 have been reassessed since final recovery strategies were released, allowing for the evaluation of population trends. For 10 species, current population trends are consistent with the goals laid out in the recovery strategies.

In the same time period (2006 to 2011), Fisheries and Oceans Canada developed final recovery strategies for 51 species, of which 48 were deemed to be feasible for recovery, while the recovery of three extirpated species was deemed not feasible. Twenty-four of the 48 species have been reassessed by COSEWIC; 18 of these 24 species were maintained in the same status category, two improved in status (Sea Otter and Wavy-rayed Lampmussel), while three saw their status deteriorate (Northern Abalone, Lake Chubsucker, Western Salvery Minnow). One species was no longer eligible for assessment (Aurora trout).

Between August 2006 and December 2011, Parks Canada has completed final recovery strategies or management plans for 53 species at risk. Of those 53 species, 12 have been reassessed; nine have seen their COSEWIC status remain unchanged, one has been found to be in a higher risk category and two have been reassessed as lower risk, including the Swift Fox following successful reintroductions in Grasslands National Park and surrounding areas.


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