SOURCE: Canadian Wildlife Federation

Canadian Wildlife Federation

November 30, 2015 19:11 ET

CWF Supports the COSEWIC Assessments

And Urges the Federal Government to Take Action

OTTAWA, ON--(Marketwired - November 30, 2015) - The Canadian Wildlife Federation supports the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada's (COSEWIC) recent assessment of 19 wildlife species and urges provincial and federal governments to immediately continue their work to prevent the loss of native species in Canada.

Of the 19 assessments, 15 were already legally at risk, while four new species were assessed by the committee. These 19 wildlife species were placed in various COSEWIC risk categories, including four Endangered, nine Threatened, and five Special Concern. In five cases, for example the Spotted Gar, the species' condition has worsened, and as such, COSEWIC has assessed them as having a higher risk category. But two species have retained their initial assessment, and seven, like the Flooded Jellyskin Lichen, are doing better or have new populations that have been discovered, enabling COSEWIC to decrease the level of risk category. Of the four newly assessed species, three have been given the Threatened risk category, and one, Endangered.

The threats to the majority of species assessed are unfortunately the result of human actions. Climate change is one of these main threats. Not only is it having an effect on the species and habitats themselves, it's also exacerbating other pre-existing threats like habitat loss and invasive alien species.

The decision now lies with the federal government as to whether these species will be added to the federal at-risk list and receive the protection offered under the Species at Risk Act. The last species listed in the Act as per recommendations by COSEWIC were added in June 2012. Three bat species affected by White-nose Syndrome received an emergency listing in November 2014. CWF urges the federal government to take rapid action in order to ensure that these species may receive the protection and research efforts needed for their recovery.

As one of the original members involved in forming COSEWIC in 1977, CWF remains committed to assisting in the research and conservation of Canadian wildlife and to increasing the awareness and education of Canadians about the value of these species. Through our Endangered Species Fund, we have been contributing to research and education on at-risk species like freshwater turtles and the American Eel. CWF also helped fill a knowledge gap for one of the assessed species, the Flooded Jellyskin Lichen, through our Cryptic Species Program. Since it was found in previously unsearched areas during surveys led by CWF, COSEWIC has downgraded its status from Threatened to Special Concern.

CWF will continue to work with all levels of government to ensure that species at risk have fighting chance against threats including climate change. Next week, CWF will be present at COP21 in Paris to proudly represent Canadian wildlife and be their voice in the global efforts to fight climate change.

About the Canadian Wildlife Federation:

The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to fostering awareness and appreciation of our natural world. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, carrying out research, developing and delivering education programs, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, recommending changes to policy and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. For more information visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca.

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