Scientific Name: Anaxyrus boreas
Taxonomy Group: Amphibians
Range: Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2012
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
The Western Toad is a large toad with small round or oval “warts” on the back, sides and upper portions of the limbs. Large oblong parotoid or poison cheek glands are situated behind the eyes. Colour is typically brown or green but varies from olive green to almost reddish-brown or black; a creamy or white vertebral stripe often extends along the back. The “warts” and parotoid glands are often reddish-brown. There is a grey pelvic patch in the groin area that functions to absorb moisture from the environment.
This species has suffered population declines and population extirpations in the southern part of its range in British Columbia, as well as in the USA. The toads are particularly sensitive to emerging skin disease caused by the amphibian chytrid fungus, which has been linked to global amphibian declines. It is relatively intolerant of urban expansion, conversion of habitat for agricultural use, and habitat fragmentation resulting from resource extraction and road networks. Life history characteristics, including infrequent breeding by females, aggregation at communal, traditionally used breeding sites, and migrations to and from breeding sites, make populations vulnerable to habitat degradation and fragmentation. The species remains widespread, but declines are suspected and projected based on known vulnerabilities and threats.
The Multi-species Action Plan for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site meets the requirements for an action plan set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA (s.47)) for species requiring an action plan that occur inside the boundary of the site. This action plan will be updated to more comprehensively include measures to conserve and recover the marine species at risk once the first integrated Land, Sea, People management plan for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve & Haida Heritage Site (hereafter called Gwaii Haanas) is complete. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur in Gwaii Haanas.
Backed by the Insular Mountain Range of Vancouver Island and facing the open Pacific Ocean, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada (Pacific Rim NPR) protects and presents the rich natural and cultural heritage of Canada's west coast. Pacific Rim NPR consists of three distinct units, the Long Beach Unit, Broken Group Islands Unit, and West Coast Trail Unit, each offering a range of unique visitor experiences. With significant areas (51,216 ha in total) of old growth, temperate rainforest, coastal dune systems, wetlands and foreshore, and marine habitats, the park demonstrates the interconnectedness between land, sea, and people. These natural wonders are interwoven with the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations culture (past and present), and that of European explorers and settlers.
Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”.
COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2012 to September 2013) from November 25 to November 30, 2012 and from April 28 to May 3, 2013. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 73 wildlife species.
The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following:
Special Concern: 19
Data Deficient: 4
Not at Risk: 1
Of the 73 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 50 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.