We Stand for Wildlife


State of Canada's Trees

Almost one in four Canadian tree species is now at risk in Canada according to a new assessment by the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada as part of its ongoing SHAPE of Nature initiative to track the health of Canada’s wildlife and wild places.  

“For a country so closely identified with forests, this is alarming news,” says Dan Kraus who led the assessment for Wildlife Conservation Society Canada using data from NatureServe Canada and the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species

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Treasure, conflict, and survival in Canada’s peatlands

Globally, peatlands store more carbon, and for longer than any other terrestrial ecosystem. Despite only covering three per cent of the earth’s surface, they store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests combined.

“That’s the power of peatlands,” says WCS Canada's Lorna Harris.

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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.

Tiny creature unlocks life before the ice age

A cave in Canada has been declared a globally significant location to preserve a rare amphipod.

Stygobromus canadensis is believed to have survived since before the glaciation of the surrounding landscape during the last ice age.

Watch the story with WCS Canada's Peter Soroye on BBC News , as well as Mountain View Today and Daily Hive.

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For the safety of the whales: keeping ship traffic under control in Canada’s Arctic Ocean

Wildlife Conservation Society Canada says one of the last places in the world where those fish thrive is Wildlife Conservation Society Canada (WCS) researchers are proposing a similar approach for whales in Canada’s Arctic Ocean to prevent collisions with marine life. They have used data collected on whale and ship movements to identify the highest potential conflict areas in this fast-changing ocean environment. Using satellite data automatically generated by many ships moving through the Arctic (Automatic Identification System – AIS) and both telemetry data from tagged bowhead whales and aerial survey data, they have zeroed in on five areas with the highest risk for collisions for bowhead whales: Cumberland Sound, Isabella Bay, Gulf of Boothia, Tuktoyaktuk, and Utqiagvik, Alaska.

Read the article by WCS Canada's Bill Halliday in Canadian Geographic.

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Latest publications

Once upon a time in Mexico: Holocene biogeography of the spotted bat (Euderma maculatum)
Holocene-era range expansions are relevant to understanding how a species might respond to the warming and drying climates of today. The harsh conditions of North American deserts have phylogenetically structured desert bat communities but differences in flight capabilities are expected to affect their ability to compete, locate, and use habitat in the face of modern climate change. A highly vagile but data-deficient bat species, the spotted bat (Euderma maculatum), is thought to have expanded its range from central Mexico to western Canada during the Holocene. With specimens spanning this latitudinal extent, we examined historical demography, and used ecological niche modeling (ENM) and phylogeography (mitochondrial DNA), to investigate historic biogeography from the rear to leading edges of the species’ range. The ENM supported the notion that Mexico was largely the Pleistocene-era range, whereas haplotype pattern and Skyline plots indicated that populations expanded from the southwestern US throughout the Holocene. This era provided substantial gains in suitable climate space and likely facilitated access to roosting habitat throughout the US Intermountain West. Incongruent phylogenies among different methods prevented a precise understanding of colonization history. However, isolation at the southern-most margin of the range suggests a population was left behind in Mexico as climate space contracted and are currently of unknown status. The species appears historically suited to follow shifts in climate space but differences in flight behaviors between leading edge and core-range haplogroups suggest range expansions could be influenced by differences in habitat quality or climate (e.g., drought). Although its vagility could facilitate response to environmental change and thereby avoid extinction, anthropogenic pressures at the core range could still threaten the ability for beneficial alleles to expand into the leading edge.
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

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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's Response to Yukon's Resource Road Regulation Discussion May 2023
Thank you for the opportunity to provide input on the Proposed Resource Roads Regulations. The following comments have been prepared in response to the online survey as part of the public engagement process. While we feel that the permitting and access control measures are adequate to address concerns around road safety, liability, wildlife and the environment, there are some concerns outlined in these comments.
WCS Canada Response to Yukon Government New Minerals Legislation Discussion Paper May 2023
We offer strong support for Yukon Government’s initiative to replace existing mineral legislations and associated processes. We appreciate the recognition that these laws are too outdated to be fit for purpose and require substantial revision. We strongly assert that new mineral legislation must: recognize and be compliant with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and Canada’s United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act; explicitly recognize that the spirit and intent of the Umbrella Final Agreement includes Indigenous co-governance of all non-private lands in the territory; and, that mineral resources found on or under land that is not privately owned are common property belonging to all Yukon citizens.
WCS Canada comments on Ontario's IESO Pathways to Decarbonization May 2023
We support actions to help Ontario and Canada meet their climate commitments, including efforts to reduce emissions across all sectors, and protecting natural carbon stores and sinks such as the northern forests and peatlands in the far north in Ontario. Therefore, we support transitioning Ontario’s electricity production to lower emitting sources. However, our overarching concern is that the IESO Pathways to Decarbonization Study is currently very narrowly scoped on maintaining business-as-usual approaches, and that the proposed approach will therefore fail to meet climate commitments and targets.

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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.