Alarming New Report Reveals Significant Decline In Nearly Half Of Canada’s Wildlife
A new report by World Wildlife Canada (WWF-Canada) published today indicates that nearly half of Canada’s wildlife populations are in decline.
Of the monitored vertebrae wildlife species studied, such as woodland caribou, lake whitefish, and swift fox, the populations have dropped an average of 83% between 1970 and 2014.
The Living Planet Report Canada, which is the most comprehensive synthesis of Canadian wildlife population trends ever conducted, proves troublesome for Canada’s federally protected species as well.
According to the report, since 2002, when the Species at Risk Act became law, federally listed at-risk wildlife populations declined by 28 per cent. Even with protections, the rate of decline for protected at-risk wildlife appears to be increasing to 2.7% per year, compared with 1.7% per year in the period 1970 to 2002.
Specifics from the report reveal populations of mammals are estimated to have dropped 43%, amphibians and reptiles 34%, fish 20%.
While some groups of birds are showing signs of recovery, others aren’t faring as well. Monitored populations of grassland birds dropped 69 %, aerial insectivores fell 51%, and shorebird populations declined by 43%.
While the numbers may be shocking, sadly, the causes for the decline are not.
Habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, pollution, unsustainable harvest and invasive species are the key contributors to wildlife decline.
“The closer we looked, the more we realized wildlife loss isn’t some other country’s problem. It’s a Canadian problem,” said David Miller, WWF-Canada president, and CEO. “It’s a problem we can all work to solve together. Stopping wildlife loss in Canada will take the commitment from individuals, industry, communities and all levels of government. People do have the power to make a difference by becoming citizen scientists, restoring habitat, embracing a low-carbon lifestyle and supporting the decisions that government, industry, and communities need to make. By taking action we can, collectively, ensure more wildlife don’t land on the at-risk list in the first place.”
“When you consider that the two ecosystems in Canada that are the least well-studied, fresh water and Arctic, are also the two areas climate change is expected to alter the most dramatically, the need becomes even more urgent,” James Snider, WWF-Canada vice-president of science, research and innovation warned.
WWF-Canada stresses that in order to reverse the decline of wildlife in the country, people need to act now; individually and as communities.
Donations can be made to WWF-Canada HERE!