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Recovery Strategy for the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos) in Canada (Proposed)

Executive Summary

The Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos) was designated Threatened in Canada in 2001 by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). It is widespread across much of eastern North America, but in Canada, it is limited to two areas of Ontario: the Carolinian Life Zone of southwestern Ontario, and central Ontario south of the French River and Lake Nipissing. Although the current distribution of the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake in Ontario is not completely known, it is clear that this species has declined in range. The Eastern Hog-nosed Snake has been extirpated from the Regional Municipalities of Halton, Peel, and York and possibly from Bruce, and Prince Edward counties. It has also been extirpated from Point Pelee National Park and Pelee Island. Threats faced by the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake include: habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, roads, persecution, collecting and contaminants.

The goal of this recovery strategy is the long-term persistence of key Eastern Hog-nosed Snake populations throughout the range of the species in Canada. The objectives of recovery activities during the next few years will focus on the following five areas:

  1. Inventory and Monitoring to increase our knowledge of the current range and distribution of Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes,
  2. Research focusing on habitat use and demographics,
  3. Conservation and Management, including habitat protection and acquisition,
  4. Defining and protecting critical habitat, and
  5. Communication and Stewardship through the development of a communication strategy to address persecution and collection, and stewardship guidelines to promote best management practices and land-use guidelines.

Specific steps within each of these areas are outlined.

Critical habitat has not yet been defined for the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake. However, a research project investigating ways of identifying critical habitat based on pre-existing field data has already begun. This on-going work will be refined until critical habitat is formally identified for each of the key populations. A Schedule of Studies has also been identified to aid in the identification of critical habitat.

One or more action plans or similar planning documents will be developed to elaborate on the approaches recommended in the strategy. Recommendations for Eastern Hog-nosed Snake also may be incorporated into multi-species or ecosystem-based action plans where this is expected to be the most effective and efficient approach for implementation (e.g. habitat protection and landscape restoration). An action plan or similar planning document for Eastern Hog-nosed Snake recovery will be completed by December 2013.