Environment: more and more species at risk in Canada

OTTAWA – Canada has more and more wildlife species at risk out of the approximately 80,000 mammals, flowers, insects, birds and even fungi recorded in the country, 135 of which have even completely disappeared.

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This is what we learn in an unprecedented portrait of our biodiversity, the report Wild Species 2020that reveals today Environment and Climate Change Canadaahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) to be held in Montreal next week.

“The results of our national-level assessments indicate that 873 species are Critically Imperiled, 1,245 are Imperiled, 2,765 are Vulnerable, 9,562 are Apparently Secure, and 10,038 are Secure,” the report states.

Scientists have also identified 135 species presumed extirpated or possibly extirpated in Canada, including seven that are found nowhere else in the world and are therefore likely extinct from the face of the Earth.

« It’s an alarming report, » says biologist Valérie Bussière, responsible for biocultural and marine conservation at the Society for Nature and Parks of Quebec (SNAP).

« This report tells us that there is urgency to act, » she said.

The report lists a total of 50,534 wildlife species out of the 80,000 found in Canada. Some 30,000 are scientifically well enough documented for us to be able to judge their health.

No less than 20% of these species are at risk, which is huge, worries Mme Bussiere. For the approximately 20,000 other species listed in the analysis, there simply isn’t enough data to make a decision.

Hundreds of Canadian scientists worked for five years to produce this analysis. They found that the species most at risk are plants and insects at the bottom of the food chain: vascular plants such as ferns, lichens, macrofungi, mosses, beetles and butterflies.

One of the extinct species is a small snail known as Caribou Rams Horn, or Rams Horn Caribou.

Like what being a caribou, invertebrate or four-legged, does not bring good luck. The woodland caribou, which is on the verge of extinction in Canada, is sure to mobilize scientists and activists at COP15, which is to define a global framework for the restoration of nature by 2030.


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