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.

We’re Going Camping!

zero waste camping newbie

For the last several years, I have been wanting to camp.
Even before I moved back to Canada I wanted to spend time hiking and camping. I feel at home in nature.
I lived in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains . . . I should have been living in the woods.

After making a post on Facebook about my youngest child wanting a tent, my cousin offered to give us a couple of tents. We took her up on the offer and we ended up with a six person tent and a giant four room tent. Score!

I may lose come “Canadian” points here, but I loathe winter.
It’s fun for a little bit. A day or two of sledding or snowshoeing… but after four or five months of the gruelling cold — I am over it. It makes me wonder how I enjoyed it as a child and wanted to spend every waking moment outside.
I now believe that this is why summer is so valued here and why everyone essentially lives outside during the summer. We all secretly hate winter.

I am fortunate to live to close to Gatineau Park.
Gatineau Park is a 361 square km conservation park that is located only a few minutes from downtown Ottawa-Gatineau.

As soon as they opened up the online reservations for camping in Gatineau Park, I jumped at getting us a reservation. I wanted it to be early enough in the summer that if they kids enjoyed it. we could return.

Reservations made, tents on hand . . . then it hit me.
I have never been camping on my own, as an adult. And I am taking kids?
What do I need?
What will they eat?
Will they be scared?
How cold will it get?
What did I get myself into?
How will we fit everything into our trunk?
Can I even set up the tent?!
How bored will the kids be?

I have two weeks to plan and get everything together.
I want to try and make this as minimal waste as possible and I also don’t want to buy all kinds of things to take that may only be used once.
I really think the thing that worries me the most is running out of food, or Teghan deciding that she wants a very specific food item that she hasn’t even mentioned in months while we are out in the woods.

I am fairly confident that I can pull it all together.
I just didn’t think about all of these decisions and the planning involved before I made the reservation.

planning a zero waste camping trip