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COSEWIC Annual Report - 2006
- Item I - COSEWIC Activities
- Item II – Election of Chair of COSEWIC
- Item III - COSEWIC Membership
- Item IV - COSEWIC Operations and Procedures
- Item V – Species Status Assignments
- Item VI - Wildlife Species Assessed by COSEWIC Since its Inception
- Appendix I
- Appendix II - Species Selected for Status Report Preparation to be included in the Next Call for Bids Fall 2006
- Appendix III
- Appendix IV - Biosketches
- Appendix V - Approach to Streamlining Reassessments
- Appendix VI - Guidelines for recognizing Designatable Units Below the Species Level
- Appendix VII - Detailed COSEWIC Species Assessments, April 2006
- Appendix VIII - August 2006 Canadian Species at Risk Publication Cover
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada
Comité sur la situation des espèces en péril au Canada
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Saskatchewan, May 1, 2006
More than 500 Canadian species now considered to be at risk of Extinction by COSEWIC
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) met in the Cypress Hills of Saskatchewan from April 23 to 28, 2006. The committee considered 64 scientific reports that assessed the risk of biological extinction for a wide variety of organisms, ranging from lichens to whales. Species in danger of extinction are assigned status as Endangered, Threatened, or Special Concern, according to the degree of risk and nature of the threats.
First, the good news…
The risks to some Canadian species have lessened. Three species, including the Red-shouldered Hawk, a species that has recovered since its previous assessment as Special Concern, were reassessed as Not at Risk. The Aweme Borer, a moth that had not been seen in Canada for 70 years, was reported as rediscovered in Canada on Manitoulin Island, Ontario.
Species at Risk…
Threats to sand dune and open grassland ecosystems of western Canada include dune stabilization, introduction of exotic species, and habitat destruction. These affect a wide diversity of animals, including Ord's Kangaroo Rat, the Burrowing Owl, and a moth, the Gold-edged Gem, all assessed as Endangered, as well as a plant, the Smooth Goosefoot, assessed as Threatened.
Three species of moths, all dependent on a Threatened species of Yucca plant that is native to a restricted area of extreme southern Alberta, have been assessed as Endangered, two of them at this meeting.
Many of the world's large open-ocean sharks have declined due to overharvesting. In the Canadian Atlantic, the White Shark was assessed as Endangered, the Shortfin Mako as Threatened, and the Blue Shark as Special Concern.
Two Arctic species were assessed. The snow-white Ivory Gull, whose numbers have declined drastically in Canada, was assessed as Endangered. The Atlantic Walrus, now at very low numbers in some areas and in need of improved management, was assessed as Special Concern.
The American Eel is a fish that breeds in the Sargasso Sea and whose young then move into rivers and streams along the Atlantic coast of North America. It has declined in numbers in Lake Ontario, the upper St. Lawrence River, and some other rivers and streams in Atlantic Canada.
The Golden-winged Warbler, which has declined throughout North America as a result of habitat loss and competition with a related species, was assessed as Threatened.
COSEWIC assesses the national status of wild species, subspecies, varieties, or other designatable units that are considered to be at risk in Canada. To do so, COSEWIC uses scientific, Aboriginal traditional and local or community knowledge provided by many experts from governments, academia and other organizations. These assessments are available to the public now and will be forwarded to Federal Minister of the Environment in August for consideration for listing under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).
There are now 529 species in various COSEWIC risk categories, including 205 Endangered, 136 Threatened, 153 Special Concern, and 22 Extirpated species (no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition,13 are Extinct and 41 are Data Deficient.
COSEWIC comprises members from each provincial and territorial government wildlife agency, four federal entities (Canadian Wildlife Service, Parks Canada Agency, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Federal Biodiversity Information Partnership, chaired by the Canadian Museum of Nature), three non-government science members and the co-chairs of the species specialist subcommittees and the Aboriginal traditional knowledge subcommittee.
Definition of COSEWIC terms and risk categories:
- Wildlife Species:
- A species, subspecies, variety, or geographically or genetically distinct population of animal, plant or other organism, other than a bacterium or virus, that is wild by nature and it is either native to Canada or has extended its range into Canada without human intervention and has been present in Canada for at least 50 years.
- Extinct (X):
- A wildlife species that no longer exists
- Extirpated (XT):
- A wildlife species no longer existing in the wild in Canada, but occurring elsewhere
- Endangered (E):
- A wildlife species facing imminent extirpation or extinction
- Threatened (T):
- A wildlife species likely to become Endangered if limiting factors are not reversed
- Special Concern (SC):
- A wildlife species that may become a Threatened or an Endangered species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats
- Not at Risk (NAR):
- A wildlife species that has been evaluated and found to be not at risk of extinction given the current circumstances
- Data Deficient (DD):
- A category that applies when the available information is insufficient (a) to resolve a species' eligibility for assessment or (b) to permit an assessment of the species' risk of extinction.
For further information, contact:
COSEWIC Chair Elect
Dr. Jeffrey Hutchings
Tel (1): (902) 494-2687
Tel (2): (902) 494-3515
Past COSEWIC Chair:
Dr Marco Festa-Bianchet
Tel: (819) 821-8000 ext: 2061
For inquiries on White Shark, Shortfin Mako, Blue Shark:
Tel: (902) 494-1105
For inquiries about bird species:
Tel: (250) 496-4049
Dr. Marty Leonard
Tel: (902) 494-2158
For inquiries on the American Eel :
Dr. Robert Campbell
Tel: (613) 987-2552
For inquiries on the Atlantic Walrus:
Dr. Andrew Trites
Tel: (604) 822-8182
For inquiries on the Aweme Borer and the Gold-edged Gem :
Dr. Theresa Fowler:
Tel: (819) 953-6402
For inquiries on the Ord's Kangaroo Rat:
Dr. Mark Brigham
Tel: (306) 585-4255
Further details on all species assessed, and the reasons for designations, can be found on the COSEWIC website.
- Date Modified: