OTTAWA, May 10 /CNW/ - The Canadian Wildlife Federation supports the
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada's (COSEWIC)
recent assessment of 40 wildlife species and expects provincial and
federal governments to continue their work to prevent the loss of
native species in Canada.
Of the 22 re-assessments, the risk status of three species increased
(Northern bottlenose whales of Davis Straight, silver shiner and two
populations of spring salamanders; Carolinian and Appalachian).
Encouragingly, the risk status of two species was reduced from
Threatened to Special Concern; several more populations of Lyall's
Mariposa Lily were recently found and the Pacific population of
humpback whales has been increasing since commercial whaling was
Human activities continue to be the main factor placing species at-risk.
Direct human harvesting and eradication are the primary reasons for
population declines of several aquatic species such as Atlantic bluefin
tuna, silver lamprey, Atlantic sturgeon and the Olympia oyster. COSEWIC
designated the Atlantic bluefin tuna as Endangered. It is now up to
the federal government to work to conserve the species and to decide
whether to protect the species under the Species at Risk Act.
International efforts to restrict the harvest of Atlantic bluefin tuna
failed last year, partly due to the position taken by the government of
Canada during the negotiations. "This majestic fish may be lost
entirely if governments and resource users are unable to come to an
agreement on how to recover the population," says David Browne, CWF
Director of Conservation "CWF will be advocating that Canada take a
leadership role in efforts to conserve the species."
Changes to habitat, particularly urbanization, continue to pose a threat
to many of the assessed species through loss of important grassland,
stream and wetland habitat. Strong regulations, habitat protection,
and effective stewardship by industry and individuals are critical to
stopping the decline of many species at risk. CWF's Endangered Species
Program supports such efforts through research, funding, education and
advocacy. CWF works with landowners to improve habitat on existing
urban lands through programs such as its Backyard Habitat Program which
encourages Canadians to grow wildlife friendly, native plant gardens.
One area of significant concern is that two assessed species have had
large declines in their populations for reasons that are not entirely
known. Barn swallows are birds commonly known to many Canadians, but
their population has mysteriously and steeply declined in recent years.
The barn swallow is now assessed as Threatened. Similar declines are
occurring in other species of birds that eat flying insects, such as
the chimney swift already designated as Threatened in Canada.
Populations of eulachon, a small, once-abundant anadromous fish on the
west coast of Canada have declined as much as 98 percent in the last
decade. These energy-rich fish are of considerable importance to local
wildlife, coastal communities and First Nations but the reasons for
their significant population declines are unknown. Two of the eulachon
populations were assessed as Endangered and the northern population,
which has had a less severe decline, was assessed as Threatened.
According to Sean Brillant, CWF Marine Program Manager, "the need for
knowledge and research is never more necessary than for those cases
where we have no idea why populations are dropping."
CWF has been working to help address this need. Over the last two years,
CWF has provided over $1million in funding to Canadian researchers
working on species at risk. Some species currently being studied with
this support include the newly reassessed Oregon spotted frog and
As one of the original members involved in forming COSEWIC in 1977, CWF
remains committed to assisting in the research and conservation of
Canadian wildlife and to increasing the awareness and education of
Canadians about the value of these species.
"Canada's wildlife is a part of our national heritage and a part of the
world's heritage. The excellent work of COSEWIC, with support from the
Government of Canada, is evidence of the value that Canadians place on
protecting this heritage," says Browne.
About the Canadian Wildlife Federation:
The Canadian Wildlife Federation is dedicated to fostering awareness and
appreciation of our natural world. By spreading knowledge of human
impacts on the environment, sponsoring research, promoting the
sustainable use of natural resources, recommending legislative changes
and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in
which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. Visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca for more information.
SOURCE CANADIAN WILDLIFE FEDERATION
For further information:
Contacts: April Overall, CWF Communications,
(613) 599-9594 ext. 227