Endangered Species

Critics ask why Canada hasn't blocked international trade in 76 endangered species
Publish Date: 10-DEC-2014 08:53 AM
Recently released documents indicate the federal government has reservations about restricting international trade in endangered species — more of them than almost any other government on Earth. The papers show that Canada has opted out of nearly every resolution to protect endangered species taken at last year's meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Delegates from 180 countries voted to extend protections to 76 plant and animal species from soft-shelled turtles to tropical hardwoods.  
Three B.C. plants declared endangered by federal panel of scientists
Publish Date: 08-DEC-2014 08:35 AM
Three B.C. plants have been declared endangered by a federal advisory panel of scientists. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada said in its annual conservation review released Monday that while the limber pine tree can live up to 1,000 years, populations in B.C. and Alberta are undergoing sharp declines due mainly to spread of white pine blister rust. The non-native disease was first detected on limber pine in 2006.  
Dead orca was pregnant with full-term fetus
Publish Date: 08-DEC-2014 08:25 AM
The necropsy on the endangered orca found dead off Vancouver Island showed it was pregnant with a full-term fetus, and that someone removed several teeth from the dead killer whale before it could be examined. Experts had speculated the death may have arisen from birth complications. Biologists are awaiting additional tests to determine the cause of death, with preliminary findings possible later this week. 
Protection for at-risk species falters over Ottawa delays, scientists say
Publish Date: 01-DEC-2014 10:04 AM
Scientists monitoring Canada’s process for identifying and protecting endangered wildlife say the system is floundering because the federal government is taking too long to list species that are deemed at risk while not doing enough to improve the status of those that are already listed. So serious is the problem that none of the 67 species that have been recommended for listing under the Species at Risk Act for the first time since January, 2011 has been taken forward to the point where a decision to list it or not can be made, as federal legislation requires. 
Fisheries experts caution against raising western bluefin tuna quota
Publish Date: 09-NOV-2014 09:45 AM
Canada could put an already endangered species of tuna at greater risk by asking an international body to raise the quota for the prized fish, say conservationists who want the catch limit to remain the same to allow the stock to rebuild. Katie Schleit of the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax said the federal Fisheries Department appears poised to ask for an increase in the quota for western Atlantic Bluefin tuna at a week-long meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas that begins Monday. 
Leona Aglukkaq is silent on altered evidence in frog memo
Publish Date: 04-OCT-2014 11:32 AM
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is offering no explanation for a mysterious memo sent from a senior bureaucrat to the environment minister that incorrectly summarized scientific evidence from a secret report. The memo, released through a court challenge, contradicted the warnings from an Environment Canada scientist about “imminent” danger from a major residential real estate project near Montreal that is threatening the survival of a critical population of western chorus frogs, protected under federal endangered species legislation. 
St. Lawrence belugas on verge of population ‘catastrophe’ : researcher
Publish Date: 28-SEP-2014 10:02 AM
A researcher monitoring belugas in the St. Lawrence estuary is warning of a looming "catastrophe" after another difficult calving season for the endangered whale. The belugas have been in a slow population decline for the past decade, according to Robert Michaud, the scientific director of Quebec's Marine Mammals Research and Education Group. 
Energy East oil terminal threatens belugas: federal scientists
Publish Date: 27-SEP-2014 08:59 AM
A stunning Quebec Superior Court injunction that temporarily halted exploratory work on a major cross-Canada oilsands pipeline project is raising fresh questions about whether the Canadian government muzzled a top scientist while reviewing the industry proposal. At least two federal departments, Transport Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, gave a green light for the exploratory work, including major drilling and seismic testing in the port of Cacouna, Quebec, in the heart of the critical habitat of threatened St. Lawrence beluga whales. 
Canada’s degradation of pristine, intact forest leads world
Publish Date: 05-SEP-2014 11:25 AM
The world's precious few remaining large forests are fragmenting at an alarming rate, and the degradation in Canada leads the world, a new analysis shows. The degradation of such pristine "intact" forests threatens species such as Canada's woodland caribou and Asia's tigers that rely on huge unbroken expanses of natural ecosystems in order to survive, said Nigel Sizer, global director of forest programs with the World Resources Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based research institute focused on resource sustainability. 
Terminal pétrolier et bélugas : voix discordante à Pêches et Océans (French)
Publish Date: 04-SEP-2014 02:15 PM
Les forages que TransCanada veut faire à Cacouna ont fait couler beaucoup d'encre, mais au-delà de ces travaux, c'est tout le projet de terminal pétrolier et le trafic maritime accru qu'il générera qui «risquent d'avoir des effets négatifs» sur les bélugas. Et ce ne sont pas des militants de Greenpeace qui le disent, mais bien des scientifiques de Pêches et Océans dans un «avis» récent. 
Au secours de la rainette faux-grillon (French)
Publish Date: 28-JUL-2014 08:05 AM
Les experts d'Environnement Canada recommandent que soient protégés intégralement les neuf derniers habitats de la rainette faux-grillon, une espèce de grenouille, en Montérégie, dont celui de La Prairie. 
Pesticide commonly used on Canadian farmland linked to bird declines
Publish Date: 09-JUL-2014 09:06 AM
Controversial pesticides, which are used “prophylactically” on millions of hectares of Canadian farmland, have now been linked to not only the declines in bees, but birds. A Dutch study released Wednesday provides the strongest evidence yet that neonicotinoids are harming insect-eating birds like swallows, which are in sharp decline. 
First Nations critical of oilsands biodiversity
Publish Date: 07-JUL-2014 08:55 AM
A report showing plant and animal life in the oilsands region is flourishing at more than 80 per cent compared to undisturbed areas is raising eyebrows among those conducting a First Nations community monitoring program downstream. Bruce Maclean, research coordinator for the Mikisew Cree First Nation and head of Fort Chipewyan’s community-based water monitoring efforts, said the report does not accurately reflect what’s happening on the ground in First Nations communities downstream of the oilsands. 
Feds Quintuple allowed Catch on Endangered Salmon Species
Publish Date: 27-JUN-2014 02:30 PM
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is allowing commercial fishermen to catch five times as many endangered coho salmon in anticipation of this year's massive sockeye run on the Fraser River. Conservationists are outraged with the federal decision, which they say will further threaten the coho species in the rush to allow fishermen a greater catch during the annual sockeye return. 
Le Saint-Laurent étouffé par l’acidification (French)
Publish Date: 12-JUN-2014 10:56 AM
Le Saint-Laurent souffre particulièrement de l’acidification accélérée de ses eaux. Ce phénomène inévitable, provoqué en bonne partie par les émissions de CO2 issues de la combustion d’énergies fossiles, constitue une menace de plus en plus sérieuse pour l’ensemble de la chaîne alimentaire. 
Oil, gas exploration may harm Gulf, scientists warn
Publish Date: 09-JUN-2014 02:57 PM
A new report argues that, with federal science cuts and policy changes, Canadians don’t have enough scientific knowledge of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to allow for safe oil and gas exploration there. A lack of research and newly-relaxed environmental assessment regulations leave too much unknown, wrote the co-authors of the St. Lawrence Coalition report, all of whom are scientists working for environmental organizations. For example, the decline of the beluga population in the area “should trigger the alarm” that more work is needed to understand contaminants currently in Gulf waters, as well as the effects of climate change, says the report. Nine conservation groups from Eastern Canada signed the report. 
Ministers say salmon not being restored in Fraser River
Publish Date: 21-MAY-2014 01:34 PM
Almost none of the 75 recommendations B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen made on how to restore sockeye stocks in the Fraser River have been acted on by Ottawa, two federal ministers indicate. Critics have long accused the government of failing to follow up on the $26-million Cohen Commission report in a meaningful way. But it wasn’t until Liberal MP Lawrence MacAulay recently asked detailed questions about which recommendations were adopted that the government verified the extent of its actions. 
DFO scientist warns of health hazards posed by decomposing whales
Publish Date: 29-APR-2014 10:53 AM
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) says it will likely be up to the local and provincial governments to find a way to dispose of rotting blue whale carcasses on the shorelines near Trout River and Rocky Harbour. There are now three of the mammoth marine mammals beached in the vicinity, including one on the beach near Bakers Brook just north of Rocky Harbour. Jack Lawson, a research scientist with DFO's marine mammals section, said the onus usually falls to the municipality — if it is affected — and then the province. 
Protesters denounce oil pipeline port in Cacouna
Publish Date: 27-APR-2014 10:41 AM
About 300 people protested today to denounce the construction of a port in Cacouna, near Rivière-du-Loup, for shipping oil from the Alberta tar sands. Under the Energy East pipeline project, the TransCanada company has already obtained the approval from Fisheries and Oceans Canada to conduct drilling in the marine area of Bas-Saint-Laurent. About a dozen organizations planned the event, including Nature Québec, Greenpeace and the Quebec Association Against Air Pollution. They say they want both Ottawa and Quebec to further analyze the project before allowing TransCanada to go forward. 
Ottawa favorise le pétrole au détriment des baleines (French only)
Publish Date: 23-APR-2014 08:48 AM
À quelques semaines de l’approbation probable du projet de pipeline Northern Gateway, le gouvernement Harper vient d’éliminer une mesure de protection environnementale qui aurait pu retarder le transport de pétrole des sables bitumineux vers la côte ouest. Un autre exemple de copinage avec l’industrie pétrolière, selon le NPD et les groupes environnementaux. Dans un décret publié samedi dans la Gazette du Canada, Ottawa a ordonné de retirer à la baleine à bosse du Pacifique Nord son statut d’espèce « menacée », en vertu de la Loi sur les espèces en péril (LEP). Sa situation est désormais considérée comme « préoccupante ».