As Canadians it is well known that the beaver is one of our national symbols. In elementary school most of us were taught about this cute little rodent with brown fur and a flat wide tail. What many do not know is why we, as Canadians, chose the beaver to be our national symbol. During the earlier times when European settlers began settling in Canada the fur trade was the biggest organization in place. Beavers were popular at the time as their fur was a favorite for making hats and other pieces of clothing. Due to the popularity the beaver was almost hunted to the point of extinction. At present the beaver is still listed as endangered, but they are also not alone.
How species become endangered
Humans are the primary reason for our species becoming endangered and it is because of this that it is put on us (as humans) to fix the problem. Growing up we were all taught how our environment and the creatures on it rely on one another to ensure balance on the Earth is sustained. When humans begin to take advantage of the Earth we begin affecting this balance. Overall there are 7 primary reasons which cause species to become endangered which are as follows:
- Habitat Loss:
The most common factor of all 7 is that of habitat loss. With people clearing land in order to build houses and roads many habitats are being destroyed. This not only takes away the homes of these animals but it usually also destroys or affects their food source leading to many starving or being unable to cope with the change.
There are 3 forms of pollution: air, water and ground. All 3 are related to one another and can affect the overall well being of the ecosystem. With toxic substances being dumped in our waters or in our soil it leads to contaminating the smaller creatures that live in them. It begins to spread through the food chain leading back to people. When we eat a cow or a deer that has eaten grass that has been contaminated we then become contaminated ourselves.
- Competition from other species:
When there are too many animals living in one area it gets to be quite crowded. It also leads to there being competition for water and food. Many end up homeless and starved due to this competition.
By disease it is meant those introduced by people’s actions, not other more naturally developed diseases. An example here would be when insecticides are used. These toxins end up in the water and soil which continues through the food chain and leads to defects that creates issues for the species to survive and reproduce.
Predation is the act of preying of one animal on others. This is a natural process but if preyed on enough can lead to the preyed on animal’s numbers to decrease dramatically.
- Unregulated/Illegal killing:
Is as the name states. When animals are endangered some continue to kill them. If continued killing on those already endangered it can lead to the animal becoming extinct.
- Introducing new species:
This can be accidental or purposefully. An example of the natural way this is done is when people have seeds from one area attached to their clothing and they can carry it to a new area where they begin to grow. This can also occur when birds carry seeds from one area to another. The method that causes most concerns are those in which are done purposefully. An example of this process is when fishermen introduce a different species of fish into their area in hopes they will reproduce for the next season. The issue with this is it can lead to the species already living in the area competing for resources. It can even lead to the introduced species eating those already living within that area causing the species that were originally living there to become at risk to be endangered.
the government of Canada’S STRATEGY to protect ENDANGERED SPECIES
In order to resolve the issues at play for endangered species the Government of Canada has put in place a 3 component action strategy. The first of these 3 components is the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The first of these components is The Species at Risk Act (SARA). It became law on June 5, 2003 however the provisions under this act did not become enforceable until June of 2004. With this act it becomes illegal to kill, harass, capture or harm a species and its habitat in any way. It also becomes illegal to destroy their habitats. An independent group called the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assesses a particular species to determine if they are at risk and then sends their ultimate findings and recommendation to the government who determines whether or not to consider the animal endangered. Any time a species is at risk an action plan is made in order to save the species from extinction. The COSEWIC re-examines the status of each species at least every decade.
The second compnent of the action plan is the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk (HSP). It is a program that helps Canadians protect species at risk and their habitats by assisting in funding stewardship projects. Projects they fund are those that care for the environment by protected habitats of species at risk and supporting their recovery. The HSP is administered by Environment Canada and is managed cooperatively with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Parks Canada Agency.
The Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk is the third component in the Government of Canada’s strategy. This accord states that the goal of the territorial, provincial and federal ministers that are responsible for wildlife is to prevent species from going extinct in Canada due to human activity. It is understood by the governments that there needs to be cooperation between the levels (territorial, provincial and federal) in order to conserve and protect our species at risk.
The IS Foundation aims to empower, educate and collaborate with others to help with ensuring both our Earth and those living on it have futures. By sharing this information we are encouraging those who care and love all living things on this beautiful planet do what they can to help. In this specific area endangered animals were discussed. Over time profiles of Canadian endangered animals will be added to ensure that we all know what animals are currently at risk and need our attention.