OTTAWA, March 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, issued the following national statement marking the United Nation's first ever World Wildlife Day.
"Canada is proud to join 170 other countries in welcoming March 3 as World Wildlife Day, to celebrate and raise awareness of the world's wild fauna and flora. The day also signifies the date that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was adopted in 1973. Environment Canada is the lead agency responsible for implementing CITES on behalf of the federal government.
"The Government is committed to preserving Canada's rich biodiversity. We enforce the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA), one of the federal government's main conservation tools to protect species at risk, maintain healthy ecosystems, and preserve Canada's natural heritage. This is done in collaboration with other federal departments, provincial and territorial governments as well as international agencies and organizations.
"The enforcement of Canada's wildlife laws ensures that our flora and fauna are protected for generations to come. Over the last year, a record amount of penalties have been levied by the Courts—nearly a half-million dollars—and many jail sentences, for persons convicted under federal wildlife protection laws.
"Canada continues to show leadership in the field of enforcement through our involvement with INTERPOL, where we chair the Wildlife Crime Working Group. Canada also recently announced $2 million in emergency funding to fight poaching and trafficking in eastern Africa.
"Protecting Canada's environment and its natural heritage for the benefit of future generations is a priority for the Government of Canada. Canada protects 12.4 million hectares of land and water for Canadian wildlife under the National Protected Areas program, including 54 National Wildlife Areas and 92 Migratory Bird Sanctuaries. Since 2006, our Government has taken significant action to protect our natural areas, adding more than 61,500km² to the network of federal protected areas—an area about twice the size of Vancouver Island—, and continues to support partners in the delivery of hundreds of local projects to protect species at risk and their habitats. We have also provided significant funding to support more than 1,400 local conservation projects designed to protect or conserve habitat for species at risk under the Habitat Stewardship Program."
Find out more about what Environment Canada and its partners are doing to conserve Canada's biodiversity.
SOURCE: Environment Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of the Environment
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