Endangered Species? Threatened Species?

Endangered Species Threatened Species at Risk

Wildlife has intrinsic value and is also valued for it’s aesthetic, cultural, spiritual, recreational, educational, historical, economic, medical, ecological and scientific reasons. Since 2003, we have had the Species at Risk Act (SARA) in Canada to help maintain the biodiversity.
The Species at Risk Act was established to protect Canadian indigenous species, subspecies, and distinct populations from becoming extirpated or extinct, to provide for their recovery and to encourage species management of other species to keep them from becoming “at risk”. The Act also established the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) to independently access and identify the species which may be at risk.

Classifications of Species in the Species at Risk Act

There are essentially five classifications that species can fall under:

  • Special Concern
  • Threatened
  • Endangered
  • Extirpated
  • Extinction

Species of Special Concern

The species that fall under this classification are vulnerable and may become threatened or endangered.

Threatened Species

Threatened species refers to those wildlife species that are likely to become an endangered species if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction.

Endangered Species

Most people are familiar with this term. An endangered species a wildlife species that is facing imminent extirpation or extinction. Endangered species may be at risk due to factors such as habitat loss, poaching and invasive species.

Extirpated Species

When a species no longer exists in one area, but does else where, it is considered to be extirpated. It is like a local extinction.

Extinct Species

Next to endangered species, this classification is probably the most known. This is when a species no longer exists — anywhere.
Think of the dinosaurs, or the dodo bird.
For an even more recent example, the passenger pigeon.

Species at Risk

Threatened, Endangered and Extirpated Canadian Species

Swift Fox (Vulpes velox)

Status: Threatened Species

The Swift Fox is smaller, more slender and lighter in colour than the Red Fox. Swift Foxes were once found in the dry prairie habits from Canada to Texas. Extirpated from Canada in 1928, they were reintroduced in the 1980s. In 1999, the status of the Swift Fox was down-listed from “extirpated” to “endangered” with 279 foxes in the wild. November 2009, the species was reassessed as “threatened” by COSEWIC. In 2012, the SARA status has been changed to “threatened”.

Swift Fox

Southern Resident Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)

Status : Endangered Species

Killer whales are the largest member of the dolphin family and are easily recognised by their tall dorsal fins and distinctive black and white markings. The known range of the Southern Resident Killer Whale extends from northern British Columbia to central California. One of the most critical aspects of Southern Resident Killer Whale habitats is the availability of food, namely the Chinook Salmon. The acoustic environment is important as well as Southern Resident Killer Whales need an ocean quiet enough for the transmission and reception of their echolocation clicks and vocalisations which are essential for navigation, foraging, cultural and social purposes.

The population of Southern Resident Killer Whales is small and declining, and the trend is expected to continue. They are limited by the availability of their principal prey, the Chinook Salmon. There are forecasts of continued low abundance of Chinook Salmon. Increasing physical and acoustical disturbance, oil spills and contaminants continues to threaten the species.

two black and white dolphins on body of water

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina)

Status: Extirpated Species

Designated as “Extirpated” in November 2014, the Eastern Box Turtle lived in Ontario based on archaeological evidence and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge. Less than ten of these turtles have been documented in Ontario, but all of them were released into the wild and are not native Canadian Eastern Box Turtles. It is believed that habitat modification is to blame for the extirpation of this species.

What can we do?

Get outside!

Getting out and experiencing nature is one of the best ways to build a bond with the natural world which will help encourage people to protect it.
Especially in children.

Earth Rangers

My kiddos love Earth Rangers.
We heard about it a couple of years ago from their school.
It’s a non-profit conservation program directed towards youth. It helps educate children and their families about biodiversity and gives children missions to complete. It empowers children to become involved in helping animals and their habitats.

Plant some trees!

The middle kiddo wanted me to link to #TeamTrees.
$1.00 plants a tree, and they’ve already planted over 22,000,000 trees world wide. My kids really want to physically plant trees, but we live in an apartment. I am hoping that next summer we can find a local project to volunteer for and help in tree planting. For now, they occasionally donate their allowance to help plant trees.

St Jean Baptiste – Fête Nationale … What is it?

st jean baptiste day

Growing up, the only thing I knew about St. Jean Baptiste Day was that it meant the school year was over. I never remember learning about it in school, and I moved to the USA when I was in eight grade. I could tell you almost anything you wanted to know about North Carolina and American history though. I often wondered if I wasn’t as aware of the holiday as I should be a younger child because I grew up in an anglophone and protestant town.
Asking my mother, who is French Canadian, gave me the answer … “It’s Québec’s birthday”.
Okay, but why the Saint?
I thought Québec and Canada were proud of their secularism?! Was that the day that Québec was founded? I was the kind of kid who wanted to know more.

The History Behind Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day

Held yearly on June 24th, Saint Jean Baptiste Day is now known in Québec as la Fête Nationale du Québec. It has been a statutory holiday in Québec since 1925, although it had been celebrated in North America since the early days of New France.
Originally, it was celebrated as a religious holiday.
It coincides with the summer solstice. Pagans would light fires to commemorate the longest day of the year. In typical early Christian fashion, they took over the celebration and re-branded it, associating it with St John the Baptist.

In Québec as early as 1843, it started as a religiously led political celebration. There would be a mass, a banquet and a parade led by member of Saint Jean Baptiste Societies. It evolved over time to include other cultural organizations, students and professional orders. The last float would usually have a curly headed young child representing St John, and children dressed up as Jacques Cartier and an aboriginal person. Over time, more people from early French Canadian history were added.
In 1908, Saint John the Baptist was named the patron saint of Québec.

During the 1960s and 70s Québec started to move away from the relgious aspect of the holiday and began to focus on the arts and culture. The name was actually changed to la Fête Nationale du Québec in 1977 to remove the religious connotations.

quebec flag
Fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste © Morgan/ Flickr

These days (well maybe not this year, thanks COVID 19) la Fête Nationale is still sometimes called La Saint Jean and is a day for proudly displaying the blue-and-white fleur-de-lys flag. Celebrations include parades, festivals, outdoor concerts, parties, and fireworks. It marks the beginning of the summer season with the end of school, camping trips and get togethers.

So now I know, if my kids ever ask, I can give them more of a background on the holiday. Google Calendar calls it St. Jean Baptiste.

history of st jean baptiste day