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Endangered Species

Geological history records five major periods of species extinction during the last 600 million years. While events on a global scale range from a meteorite collision to glaciation and climate warming are believed to have caused these massive eradications in the past, the list of wildlife casualties in North America since European settlement tells us human action is now the greatest threat to plants and animals.

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is charged with determining the list of Canada's endangered species. In April, COSEWIC, which is made up of government officials, conservationists and academics, releases its annual list of species at risk in Canada. There are currently 307 species on the list, and an average of 10 to 20 species are added each year. COSEWIC cautions that this does not necessarily reflect the rate at which species are becoming at risk, but simply reflects the rate at which the committee is able to examine each species. More than 6,000 additional species within the taxonomic groups that are currently considered by COSEWIC require attention.

Endangered species

The list categorizes mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, molluscs and plants as endangered (facing imminent extinction), threatened (likely to become endangered if limiting factors not reversed) or vulnerable (particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events). There are currently 10 extinct species listed.

(Information from Canadian Geographic Endangered Species map and COSEWIC website)


Resources


Endangered species on the Web

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Adobe PDF download Endangered Species (Adobe PDF document)

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Canadian Geographic magazine is an excellent resource for teachers and students. It provides posters in both official languages, such as the St. Lawrence Seaway map, as well as short geography related news items suitable for current events. In addition, the June issue each year is devoted to environmental issues such as wind energy.”



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