CWF Launches $1-million Endangered Species Program

OTTAWA, March 25 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Wildlife Federation is launching a $1-million Endangered Species Program today to conserve at-risk wildlife across Canada and engage more Canadians in supporting species-at-risk.

"Work to maintain or enhance species-at-risk is a challenge that requires a joint effort among industry, government, conservation organizations and individual Canadians," says Rick Bates, Executive Director of the Canadian Wildlife Federation. "The program is designed to complement other existing programming and address gaps in knowledge that will help Canadians take action in conservation."

The new program will help conserve at-risk wildlife across Canada through research into the causes of decline, and best methods for recovery, education to engage the public in conservation, support for efforts to conserve habitat, and work to help improve government policies.

CWF's program provides first-order funding to improve our knowledge of marine and freshwater species, but will also consider projects addressing iconic species such as the polar bear, the caribou and the killer whale.

"Funds provided by Canadian Wildlife Federation are fundamentally important, indeed critically vital, to our understanding of the factors that affect the viability, persistence, and recovery of endangered species in Canada. There is no comparable financial support for research on Canadian species at risk," said Dr. Jeffrey Hutchings, Canada Research Chair on Marine Conservation and Biodiversity at Dalhousie University, and chair of COSEWIC.

Wildlife is declining due to a wide range of pressures including habitat loss, contaminants, commercial over-exploitation, invasive species and climate change. To date the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has listed 585 species at some level of risk - extinct, extirpated, endangered, threatened or of special concern.

This program will motivate practical action and develop new knowledge to help Canadians respond to the declaration by the United Nations of 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity.

"Canada's identity is linked to iconic species like the caribou, killer whale and polar bear," says Bates. "When one species is at risk it may be a sign the entire ecosystem is under strain."

SOURCE Canadian Wildlife Federation

For further information: For further information: Louise Hanlon, CWF Communications Manager, (613) 599-9594, Cell: (613) 859-7438, louiseh@cwf-fcf.org

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