We Stand for Wildlife

 

Wildlife Conservation Society Canada’s Justina Ray wins 2022 Conservation Leadership Award

The Wilburforce Foundation announced it is presenting one of four 2022 Conservation Leadership Awards (CLA) to Dr. Justina Ray — President and Senior Scientist of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Canada — for her ongoing work on science-based conservation policy across Canada.

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WCS Canada comments on Canada's Critical Minerals Strategy, to Natural Resources Canada

The federal government’s draft Critical Minerals Strategy is structured around colonial ‘new frontiers’ mindset that leads to a focus on expediting extraction instead of understanding the real consequences of opening up some of the world’s last remaining ecologically intact areas and carbon-rich stores to industrial development.

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WCS Canada scientists get their boots muddy studying wildlife and wild places across Canada in hopes of spurring action to address our growing biodiversity crisis.

The Fawn River Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) Ecological Atlas

The Fawn River Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) Ecological Atlas is the product of a collaboration between Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Canada. Our goal in producing the Atlas was to continue to advance scientific support for the Fawn River IPA in order to complement and advance KI’s vision for protecting their homelands.

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Ship noise sends belugas scrambling out of the way

In a new study, scientists led by Morgan Martin, a zoologist with Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, reveal in unprecedented detail how belugas will flee, dive, and otherwise rush to escape the distressing din of shipping noise.

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Latest Publications

Nesting Ecology of the Barn Swallow on Agriultural Lands in Yukon
ince the 1980s, the abundance of the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rus-tica) in North America, including the far north, has declined. To better understand the species’ biology north of 60° N, near the northern limit of its range, and in a region of expanding agriculture, we studied its nesting ecology on farms in southern Yukon Territory, Canada, in 2019 and 2020. We followed 21 attempted nests in 2019, 20 in 2020, of which 52% and 60%, respectively, were inside buildings with permanently open entrances. Other nests were built on the outside of buildings. In both years we inferred successful double brooding by three pairs, which is rarely reported north of 60°N latitude. We found the swallows’ reproductive output to be similar to that at temperate latitudes: first clutches ranged from three to six eggs (mean 4.8 in 2019; 4.2 in 2020); second clutches may have averaged marginally smaller (n = 6). The mean number of fledglings per nest was 3.3 in 2019 and 3.0 in 2020. Twenty-one percent of nests failed, either by falling off a vertical substrate or because of predation by deer mice (Peromyscus spp.), Black-billed Magpies (Pica hudsonia), or domestic cats. We also compared the air temperatures at nests, usually near building roofs, to ambient temperatures, finding them on average 1.6°C warmer than temperatures outside buildings. We set out 33 platforms and 20 wooden cups designed for Barn Swallow nesting but over the two years of our study the birds did not use any of them.
Microbial isolates with Anti‑Pseudogymnoascus destructans activities from Western Canadian bat wings
Forsythe, A. et al. (incl. Lausen, C.L.). 2022. Scientific Reports 12:9895
Efficacy and ethics of intensive predator management to save endangered caribou
Johnson, C.J., Ray, J.C and St-Laurent, M-H. 2022. Conservation Science and Practice e12729
Developing a national level evidence-based toolbox for addressing freshwater biodiversity threats
Reid et al. (incl. O'Connor, C.M.). 2022. Biological Conservation 269:109533
Coupling validation effort with in situ bioacoustic data improves estimating relative activity and occupancy for multiple species with cross-species misclassifications
Stratton, C. et al (incl. Lausen, C. and Rae, J. ). 2022. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 2022;00:1-16.
Quantifying firebrand production and transport using the acoustic analysis of in-fire cameras.
Quantifying firebrand production and transport using the acoustic analysis of in-fire cameras. Thompson, D. K. et al. (incl. Yip, D.A.) Fire Technology
Activity, heart rate, and energy expenditure of a cold-climate mesocarnivore, the Canada lynx
Menzies, A. et al. (incl. Seguin, J.). 2022 Canadian Journal of Zoology
Evaluating ecosystem services for agricultural wetlands: a systematic review and meta‑analysis
Evaluating ecosystem services for agricultural wetlands: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eric, A. et al. (incl. Mantyka-Pringle, C.) Wetlands Ecology and Management

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WCS Canada newsletter

WCS Canada's newsletters have stories about our scientists in the field, interesting insights about wildlife and important conservation alerts.

Read our latest edition:  Celebrating Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), and a whale of a story about arctic shipping noise

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Latest policy comments

WCS Canada Comments on Proposed Updates to the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System (ERO No. 019-6160)
The proposed changes to the OWES are highly unlikely to meet the stated purpose by Ontario of increasing housing in Ontario. According to the ERO posting, “streamlining” the wetland evaluation process is necessary to support the construction of 1.5 million new housing units. However, a shortage of land isn’t the cause of the housing shortage in Ontario1.
Request for Time Limit Extension from Webequie First Nation to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (Project reference number: 80183)
In summary, we support the request by the Proponent for an extension of three years to January 6, 2027 in order to address the information required as described in the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines (TISG) for the WSR Project. We agree that COVID‐19 has had, and continues to have, significant impacts on First Nations communities in the far north in Ontario and we expressed concern throughout this process that the Proponent chose not to pause the WSR Project despite First Nation community requests to do so when faced with health and safety concerns, capacity issues, and ongoing and emergent social crises. We continue to think this current process with respect to COVID‐19 highlights the limitations of impact assessment as a tool for social justice and reconciliation with First Nations in northern Ontario.
Joint Comment ERO - 019-6160 Proposed Update to the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System
We, the 70 undersigned organizations, are strongly opposed to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry's (MNRF) proposed changes to the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System (OWES), as they would completely undermine the protection of wetlands in Ontario. As you know, the OWES is a science-based ranking system that provides a standardized approach to determining the relative value of wetlands. OWES assessments are necessary to designate Provincially Significant Wetlands (PSWs). This designation in turn results in a high level of protection under provincial law and policy such as the Provincial Policy Statement (sections 2.1.4, 2.1.5 and 2.1.8). Yet the complete overhaul of the OWES, as proposed, will ensure that very few wetlands would be deemed provincially significant in the future and that many if not most existing PSWs could lose that designation. As a result, very few of Ontario's wetlands would benefit in the future from the protection that PSW designation currently provides. We urge you not to proceed with the proposed changes to the OWES, for the reasons outlined below.

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Photo credits: Banner | Susan Morse © News | Mountain landscape: Susan Morse ©,  River: Maitland Conservation Authority ©, Caribou: Don Reid © WCS Canada, Peatlands: Mike Oldham  | Bat with WNS © NPS/Creative Commons License  | Mosaic: Northern Mountains: Hilary Cooke © WCS Canada, Wolverine: Susan Morse ©. Brook Trout: Engbretson Underwater Photography ©, Bat: Cory Olson ©, Wild Places: Hilary Cooke © WCS Canada, Ontario River: Constance O'Connor © WCS Canada, Caribou: Susan Morse © | Black-capped chickadee © Malcolm Boothroyd | Yukon mining: Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle © WCS Canada.