Saskatchewan River Delta, SK
Claim to fame: Largest freshwater fish in Canada
Primary threat: Human activity, with direct and indirect effects of dams and industrial development
Habitat: The pristine waters of the Saskatchewan River Delta. A large protected area in the Suggi Lowlands/Mossy River Watershed at the heart of the Delta could help safeguard this impressive species of fish, as well as the millions of waterfowl and forest dwelling animals that thrive in the Delta.
Bighorn Backcountry, AB
Claim to fame: Also known as the Gulo gulo, the Wolverine is the largest member of the weasel family and is well-known for its fierce independence and powerful jaws
Status: Population has been substantially reduced in recent years
Primary threat: Highly sensitive to human activities and habitat fragmentation caused by resource extraction and development
Habitat: In Alberta, the wolverine’s habitat spans the mountains, foothills, and boreal plain. The Bighorn Backcountry provides prime habitat for wolverines and their cohabitants, including bighorn sheep, bull trout, and grizzly bears. As one of Alberta’s last intact landscapes, the Bighorn provides wolverines with the space and the resources they need to thrive. Protecting this extremely important intact wilderness would help safeguard all the wildlife that call the Bighorn home.
North French River Watershed, ON
Claim to fame: Boreal Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) is one of Canada’s most iconic species and is an indicator species of a healthy boreal forest ecosystem.
Primary threat: Threatened by resource extraction and habitat destruction
Habitat: The North French overlaps with boreal caribou critical habitat. As one of the last watersheds in northeastern Ontario that remains untouched by industrial development, the North French River is home to boreal caribou, migratory birds and aquatic species. Moose Cree First Nation has already declared this area protected under their own laws and has called upon the Ontario government to reciprocate by stopping the handing out permits for industrial development such as mineral exploration and forestry here. Safeguarding this area would help the province meet its international obligations to protect 17% of lands and inland waters by 2020, protect critical habitat and help achieve reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
Protected Areas in Newfoundland, NL
Claim to fame: Woodland Caribou are a fundamental part of our northern Canadian ecosystems and are found in multiple herds in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Status: Populations have dramatically declined in the 21st century
Primary threat: Woodland caribou are extremely vulnerable to threats from industrial development
Habitat: Although a resilient species, Woodland Caribou need safe and undisturbed areas in which to roam, feed, and raise their young. The long overdue Natural Areas System Plan in Newfoundland and Labrador is an important opportunity for the province to step up and provide caribou and other threatened species protection of the land and inland waters necessary to their survival.
South Okanagan-Similkameen, BC
Claim to fame: Highly specialized for digging and has distinct facial markings
Status: Endangered, estimated to have less than 200 breeding adults left in British Columbia
Primary threat: Development pressures
Habitat:The grassland ecosystem of the South Okanagan-Similkameen region is among the most threatened ecosystems in the world. Home to over one-third of all provincially-listed species at risk and fifty-seven federally-listed species at risk, this desert ecosystem is incredibly rich in biodiversity and vulnerable to human activities. It is critical that the remaining intact grasslands of the Okanagan are quickly protected to safeguard badgers and the countless other species that live there.
Saskatchewan Grasslands, SK
Claim to fame: Largest grouse in North America, with a distinct long and pointed feather tail
Status: Canada’s Sage Grouse population declined by nearly 90% between 1988 and 2006, making them one of our most endangered species today
Primary threat:Greater Sage grouse need large areas of unfragmented sage brush grasslands to live, but because of habitat loss and degradation, their range in Canada has been reduced to 6% of its historic size. Greater Sage Grouse are highly sensitive to disturbances and will abandon its breeding grounds when confronted with human activity.
Habitat: In Canada, Sage Grouse range through the prairies from Southeastern Alberta to southwestern Saskatchewan. In Saskatchewan, the federal government is risking Sage Grouse populations by transferring important Community Pasture lands into private management with no requirement to conserve the precious grassland ecosystems. These ecosystems are critical to the Greater Sage Grouse’s survival and must be permanently protected.
Our Protected Areas Plan, NS
Claim to fame: One of two different sub-species in Nova Scotia
Status: Once a thriving animal, Mainland Moose populations in Nova Scotia have been declining for years and were declared endangered in 2003. The current mainland moose population is estimated at less than 1,000 animals.
Primary threat: Fragmentation of mature forests through harvesting and development
Habitat: Mainland Moose live in many sites that are still in need of legal protection through the Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan which, along with effective woodland area management plans, are critical to ensuring the survival and recovery of moose in mainland Nova Scotia.
Restigouche River Watershed, NB
Claim to fame: a medium-sized member of the cat family that tends to be nocturnal
Status: Population has been substantially reduced in recent years
Primary threat: The rare and dwindling habitat found within the Restigouche is home to critical populations of Canada Lynx
Habitat: Lynxes are found in humid boreal forests where they pray upon snowshoe hare. With long insulating fur and extra-large paws that act like snowshoes in very deep snow, lynxes are well-suited for Canadian winters. They have a large home range and subsequently require large undisturbed forests to thrive. In Eastern Canada, the Restigouche River Watershed acts as a natural corridor for lynxes to disperse to feed and give birth between Gaspe and northern Maine. With less than 3% of the watershed protected from development in New Brunswick, the Restigouche is a tremendously important opportunity to safeguard the Canada Lynx and the unique ecosystem in which it thrives.
Peel River Watershed, YT
Claim to fame: Porcupine Caribou have the longest migration of any land mammal on earth, spanning 250,000 square kilometers of tundra between Yukon and Alaska.
Status: The Porcupine Caribou has always been an important part of the ecology of the Western Arctic but is current facing an urgent threat on the health of the herd.
Primary threat: Porcupine Caribou are under threat from legislation that would allow drilling in the very location the herd uses to calf, in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Habitat: Habitat: Porcupine Caribou require vast undisturbed landscapes to feed, seek shelter, mate, and give birth throughout their migratory cycle. The Peel River Watershed, part of the Porcupine Caribou herd’s winter range, is incredibly important to the wildlife and four First Nations that call the Peel home. Maintaining the integrity of the watershed is crucial in protecting the magnificent Porcupine Caribou and rich biodiversity forever. In March 2016, the Supreme Court heard the case to permanently protect the Peel Watershed, and a response is expected in the coming months. Also of paramount importance are the herd’s calving grounds, currently under threat from the US administration who are pushing to drill for oil. Any construction in their territory could lead them to abandon their calving grounds altogether, having a grave and irreversible impact on their health and the Vuntut Gwitchin of Old Crow, Yukon, who rely on the animals for their very survival.
Fisher Bay, MB
Claim to fame: Well-known as a nocturnal, and cave-dwelling mammal that hunts insects with echo-location.
Status: Once abundant throughout Canada, the Little Brown Bat is now severely threatened by white-nose syndrome, a fatal fungal disease in eastern Canada anticipated to arrive in Manitoba within a few short years. It was emergency-listed as Endangered both federally and provincially and is considered to have experienced one of the most rapid declines of mammals ever documented.
Habitat: The Fisher Bay area in Manitoba is home to some of the most important Little Brown Bat hibernation sites in the province. Maintaining the ecological integrity of the region will provide the greatest chance for the region’s Little Brown Bats to survive in the face of white-nose syndrome and will ensure that the healthy lands, waters, and wildlife of the region continue to thrive. In 2011, Fisher Bay provincial park was established in partnership with the Fisher River Cree Nation, but expanded landscape protections are needed to secure the ecological health of this region. CPAWS and its partners will be soon be embarking on a communities and stakeholders engagement process with the aim of conserving additional lands and waters in the area.
Three Wild Watersheds of Western Quebec, QC
Claim to fame: A canid living in central Ontario and southwestern Quebec, capable of travelling hundreds of kilometers in its lifetime.
Status: The Algonquin Wolf is listed as Special Concern under the federal Species At Risk Act and it is estimated that there are currently less than 1000 mature Algonquin Wolves, most of whom live in protected areas.
Primary Threat: Although a highly adaptive animal, the Algonquin Wolf is threatened by human-caused mortality from hunting, trapping, and habitat loss.
Habitat: In Southwestern Quebec, many Algonquin Wolves thrive in the pristine watersheds of the Dumoine, Noire, and Coulonge rivers. These watersheds provide a critical ecological connection between the mixed-wood forests of the Great Lakes-St Lawrence Region and the vast Boreal forest in Quebec, acting as a natural wildlife corridor for wolves. Making its home in deciduous and mixed forest landscapes, the Algonquin Wolf needs an area of at least 200km2 to thrive. The permanent protection of these watersheds will safeguard the natural spaces and maintain the region’s unique biodiversity.