CWF Urges Federal Government to Continue its Commitment to Species at Risk in Canada

OTTAWA, Sept. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian government plans to weaken the Species at Risk Act (SARA) while conservation organizations from around the world are calling for greater efforts to stop the loss of endangered wildlife, according to the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

Saving the world's most threatened species is an international issue being voted on this week at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, South Korea. CWF is a delegate at the congress and will be supporting several motions that strengthen commitments to species at risk and other conservation issues.

"It is our understanding that alterations to legislation protecting our most vulnerable species are likely taking place before the end of the year," says Rick Bates, CWF Executive Director. "The Species at Risk Act is the last line of defence for wildlife in Canada.  After a species has declined to the point it is at risk of disappearing forever the Act kicks in and requires actions be taken to help save it.  CWF believes the federal government could achieve a stronger Act and greater success through minor changes to supporting policy and regulations rather than major changes to the Act."

Areas where improved policy could be helpful include recognizing private landowners for their efforts to protect species at risk through stewardship incentives.

However, reducing the emphasis of biology as the foundation for identifying critical habitat and recovery strategies, limiting the identification of critical habitat to one or two of federal, provincial or private lands, or denying protection for a species in Canada because it occurs in another country would all be major steps backward in our responsibility as global citizens to protect the biodiversity within our borders.

CWF has a long history of working with species at risk, operating the leading non-government program of its type in Canada.  CWF supports researchers and on-the-ground action through the largest funding program in Canada outside of government, providing $500,000 per year to enable key research on at-risk species.

With more than 300,000 supporters, CWF is the largest conservation organization in Canada and has provided a balanced voice on conservation issues for more than 50 years.

About the Canadian Wildlife Federation

The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a national non-profit charitable organization dedicated to ensuring an appreciation of our natural world and a lasting legacy of healthy wildlife and habitat.  By improving knowledge of human impacts on the environment, developing and deliverying programs, recommending policy changes and cooperating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature.  For more information, visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca

SOURCE: CANADIAN WILDLIFE FEDERATION

For further information:

Louise Hanlon
CWF Communications
Mobile 613-240-2409
louiseh@cwf-fcf.org

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