Laws devoted to the protection and recovery of species at risk are meant to provide added protection measures after regular management approaches have been insufficient to stave off extinction risk. Examples of such laws in Canada include the federal Species At Risk Act (2002) and the Ontario Endangered Species Act (2007).
The need for such statutes becomes obvious when we consider the ever-growing list of species at risk in Canada – mirroring global trends of biodiversity loss. Once a species is “listed” by government as at risk of extinction, it becomes eligible for additional protection measures, particularly those related to safeguarding affected habitats. The Recovery Strategy is where the real work begins. Its purpose -- based on the best available scientific knowledge -- is to set goals for the recovery of a species, including identifying critical habitat, and what measures will be required to protect it as well as individuals of the species from harm. Depending on how complex the threats are, the set of actions required to reverse or mitigate impacts can be multifaceted and challenging to implement. Nevertheless, given government commitments to improve the fate of species once they become imperiled, it is necessary for that recovery plans have a solid scientific foundation.
In this vein, WCS Canada scientists, who have considerable field and policy experience with a number of Canadian species, have contributed comments on species at risk recovery strategies that were put out for public review in the last several months.
Under the Species at Risk Act: Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae) and Bats (Myotis lucifugus, Myotis septentrionalis, Perimyotis subflavus)
Under the Ontario Endangered Species Act: Wolverine (Gulo gulo) and Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)
Photo credits: Banner | William Halliday © WCS Canada