Species at Risk

Today, Canada's wildlife and plants face enormous pressures and threats from the loss of their habitat to pollution and contamination of their environment. The decline of populations and the disappearance of wildlife species modify ecosystems considerably. Plants, animals, and micro-organisms all play essential roles in the natural processes that keep the Earth's atmosphere, climate, landscape, and water in balance.

In Canada, those species that are under the most pressure of becoming extinct can receive both a federal (under the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada or COSEWIC) and provincial (by the BC Conservation Data Centre) conservation status. This is determined by a body of experts responsible for identifying and assessing wildlife species considered to be at risk. By applying a conservation status for those species at risk, laws and regulations can be used to help to protect them. These species are also helped by scientists, Aboriginal peoples, private landowners, and industries by implementing recovery strategies and by communities helping with stewardship and conservation efforts.

To find out more on how species at risk are identified and for the most up to date conservation statuses, please visit the following websites:

Here is a brief overview on what the federal and provincial conservation statuses are and what they mean: (maybe put this in a table format?)

COSEWIC

Extinct - A wildlife species that no longer exists.
Extirpated - A wildlife species no longer existing in the wild in Canada, but occurring elsewhere.
Endangered - A wildlife species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
Threatened - A wildlife species likely to become endangered if limiting factors are not reversed.
Special Concern - A wildlife species that may become a threatened or an endangered species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.

Provincial Conservation Status Rank

Extinct - Species and ecological communities that no longer exist.
Red - Indigenous species, or subspecies and ecological communities that have - or are candidates for - Extirpated, Endangered, or Threatened status in BC
Blue - Indigenous species or subspecies and ecological communities considered to be of Special Concern (formerly Vulnerable) in BC
Yellow - Species and ecological communities that are apparently secure and not at risk of extinction. Yellow-listed species may have Red or Blue listed subspecies.

There are many species at the CVWMA that are known to be rare or endangered. The conservation of these species has become a focus of habitat management at the CVWMA.

Here is an example of some of the species at risk at the CVWMA and their provincial conservation statuses:

  • Northern Leopard Frog - one of two known populations in BC (Red listed)
  • Forster's Terns - only known breeding population in BC (Red listed)
  • Western Painted Turtle (Blue listed)
  • Western Grebe - one of two known breeding locations in BC (Red listed)
  • American White Pelican (Red listed)
  • American Bitterns - highest concentration of breeding individuals in BC (Red listed)
  • Great Blue Herons - large rookery (Blue listed)

For the most up to date information on the provincial conservation status of all species, please visit the BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer by the BC Conservation Data Centre.