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COSEWIC Annual Report for 2010-2011

COSEWIC Annual Report

presented to

The Minister of the Environment


The Canadian Endangered
Species Conservation Council


The Committee on the Status
of Endangered Wildlife in Canada

2010 - 2011

Committee on the Status
of Endangered Wildlife in

Comité sur la situation des
espèces en péril au Canada


September 9, 2011

The Honourable Peter Kent
Minister of the Environment
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
10 Wellington Street
28th Floor
Gatineau, Québec
K1A 0H3

Dear Minister Kent,

Please find enclosed the 2010-2011 Annual Report of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), which I respectfully submit to you and to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC). The submission of this report fulfills COSEWIC’s obligations under Section 26 of Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA). The Annual Report will also be available online through the SARA public registry at http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/gen_info/cosewic_annual_e.cfm.

As you know, COSEWIC’s role is to assess the conservation status of wildlife species in Canada. To date, COSEWIC has assessed 635 wildlife species in various risk categories, including 278 Endangered, 158 Threatened, 176 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated. The Committee has also assessed 14 wildlife species as Extinct, 50 as Data Deficient and 170 as Not at Risk.

The Annual Report identifies wildlife species to be considered for addition to Schedule 1 of SARA and confirms the status of species currently listed on Schedule 1. Under Item V, Wildlife Species Status Assignments, you will find the status assigned to each of these species, the reasons for designation, and the COSEWIC criteria applied with alphanumeric codes.

The submission of this information fulfils COSEWIC’s obligations under Section 25 of SARA, which requires that COSEWIC provide the Minister of the Environment and CESCC with a copy of species status assessments and the reasons for the assessments. It also fulfils our obligations under Section 24, which requires COSEWIC review the classification of species at risk at least once every 10 years.

COSEWIC’s ability to meet its legislated mandate relies on the time and expertise provided by its members and the members of its Species Specialist Subcommittees and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) Subcommittee. I note with some concern that the workload for these members will increase as COSEWIC faces the 10-year review of classification required for species placed on Schedule 1 when SARA was proclaimed in 2003 and those assessed in subsequent years. I have struck a Strategic Planning Working Group to provide recommendations on how best to address the looming workload issues. Nonetheless, I anticipate that the Committee could face significant challenges in this regard over the next few years and we will rely on strong and continued administrative support from the COSEWIC Secretariat and your department to ensure we meet our obligations.

COSEWIC also faces challenges associated with gathering ATK, as required under Section 15(2) of SARA. As you know, in April 2010, COSEWIC approved the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Process and Protocol Guidelines, which provide clear and agreed principles for gathering ATK. Since that time, COSEWIC’s ATK Subcommittee has prioritized species for ATK gathering, initiated the process of identifying sources of ATK and gathered publicly available ATK for upcoming species assessments. For many species, however, ATK must be gathered directly from community sources. ATK gathering projects require significant effort by our ATK Subcommittee and significant resources. Unfortunately, the funds currently available to COSEWIC do not allow us to conduct these important projects.

Finally, I draw your attention to my letters of 31 May and 30 August 2011 regarding candidates for appointment to COSEWIC. As I mentioned, the Committee conducted a careful and transparent review of all applicants and the nominees provided to you on 31 May represent an extremely well qualified group of individuals. You will find short summaries describing their expertise on page 63 (Appendix III) of the report. I hope you will consider appointing these nominees without delay, and before the terms of incumbent members expire.

In closing, I wish to express my sincere appreciation for the support of your Ministry and its commitment to the conservation and protection of wildlife species at risk in Canada.

Yours sincerely,

Signature of Marty L. Leonard

Marty L. Leonard

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