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Publications

A plan for the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat)

Author(s): Loeb, S.C., T.J. Rodhouse, L.E. Ellison, C.L. Lausen, J.D. Reichard, K.M. Irvine, T.E. Ingersoll, J.T.H. Coleman, W.E. Thogmartin, J.R. Sauer, C.M. Francis, M.L. Bayless, T.R. Stanley, and D.H. Johnson
Year: 2015

A Fork in the Road, Future Development in Ontario's Far North

Author(s): Cheryl Chetkiewicz and Matt Carlson
Journal: Wildlife Conservation Society Canada Collaborative Report
Year: 2013

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Latest Feature

Wood Buffalo Park: A World Heritage Site in danger

Wood Buffalo National Park, which straddles the Alberta-NWT border, is an area that can only be described with superlatives. To begin with, it is huge – 45,000 square kilometres, an area bigger than the Netherlands.  It contains one of the world’s largest inland freshwater deltas (the Peace River Delta) and protects the world’s only breeding ground for whooping cranes as well as the largest wild herd of bison on the planet.

But it is also troubled. Tar sands development to the south and hydro-electric development to the west have both seriously impacted water levels and flows within the park.  Tar sands mining and waste dumping has also led to a growing risk of contamination by toxics and air and water pollutants.  And these threats are growing. The massive Site C hydro dam project in British Columbia will have impacts that will be felt all the way upstream to the park.  New tar sands mines are also being developed on the Athabasca River in the remaining gap between the park and current mines and tailing ponds to the south.

WCS will be talking about how to address these issues at the United Nation’s World Heritage Committee conference in Krakow, Poland in early July.  Wood Buffalo is officially a World Heritage Site and thanks to the efforts of the Mikisew First Nation, UNESCO’s attention has been drawn to the deteriorating state of the park and the associated impacts on Indigenous people and wildlife. 

Recently, UNESCO sent a “Reactive Monitoring Mission” to see firsthand what is happening in Wood Buffalo. The mission was blunt in its assessment, stating "The mission fully agrees with most observers that continuation of the development approach of the last decades renders the future of (the park) uncertain at the very best."

Wood Buffalo is a perfect example of the need to look at the cumulative impacts of development decisions and not just individual projects or site-specific effects. WCS Canada has been urging the federal government to reform its outdated environmental assessment process and to make better use of tools such as Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA - Parks Canada has now agreed to conduct an SEA for Wood Buffalo on the recommendation of the monitoring team).  For Wood Buffalo, such an approach could make a big difference by forcing decision makers to finally acknowledge that we can’t keep piling on problems for key wild areas. 

WCS will be looking for a strong response from the Canadian government in Krakow, one that shows it is serious about avoiding having Wood Buffalo listed as a World Heritage Site in Danger.

Photograph from: Parks Canada 

Bighorn Backcountry of Alberta: Protecting Vulnerable Wildlife and Precious Waters


A new scientific analysis by Wildlife Conservation Society Canada has identified a conservation gem nestled beside the two crown jewels of the Rocky Mountain national park system. The area, known as the Bighorn Backcountry, lies just east of Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta and represents one of the most ecologically important areas in the province’s Eastern Slopes region. 

Based on findings about the importance of this region to wildlife, clean water and recreation, WCS Canada is calling on the Alberta Government to designate the area as a Provincial Wildland Park in keeping with its recent commitment to conserve at least 17 percent of the province’s land base.

A Wildland Park in the Bighorn Backcountry would protect spawning habitat critical to bull trout (Alberta’s provincial fish); cliffs and slopes used by bighorn sheep, especially during the tough winter period; secluded areas for grizzly bear females that can be killed or displaced from prime feeding sites near secondary roads; and denning habitat for wolverines, which may increasingly need to move to higher altitudes to find deep snow.  It would also protect the headwaters of the North Saskatchewan River, a critical water source for much of Central Alberta. Read the full report and the news release

Securing a Wild Future for Yukon's Boreal Mountains

Yukon’s Boreal Mountains region adds a whole dimension to Canada’s most iconic forest.  Here snow capped mountains and alpine plateaus are perched above broad river valleys rich with life.  The region is a haven for predators and prey alike, from grizzly bears and wolves to sheep and moose.  There are few other places left in the world that have been so little changed by human development.  That’s why we need a plan to protect the wild in this globally important region.  As a first step, WCS Canada has developed a major new report assessing options for creating a network of conservation lands in the region.  We examined thousands of possibilities to map out the best networks for keeping the wild alive in this vast region. Yukoners love the outdoors and having wild places on their doorstep.  We wanted to help them understand what needs to be done to keep ecosystems intact and wildlife populations healthy.  Read the full reportnews release.
Check out the interview Hilary Cooke did for CBC and the blog she wrote that's posted on huffpost. 

WCS Canada Annual report 2016

At WCS Canada, we are working to help wildlife survive – and thrive – across our huge country. Our gorgeous new annual report captures both the beauty of wildlife and the challenges we face in ensuring their survival across Canada.  From caribou to ice seals, we explain how WCS Canada scientists are using the insights gained from long hours in the field to shape conservation and land-use plans and to help species survive. We also look at how we can take action now to prevent big problems later, such as designing cutting-edge conservation networks for the still-wild Northern Boreal Mountains in Yukon or helping bats in Western Canada survive and recover after the arrival of a deadly disease that has already swept through eastern North America.  Have a look at our wild world and please share this important work with your friends and colleagues!

 

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