Government of Canada collaborates with provinces and territories to provide the most complete overview of Canada’s biodiversity to date
November 29, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario
The Government of Canada is committed to protecting Canada’s nature, biodiversity, and species at risk. In a collaborative effort with all provinces and territories, the Government of Canada is releasing Wild Species 2020: The General Status of Species in Canada to enhance the understanding of the status and distribution of wild species across the country.
For the first time, the Wild Species report takes stock of more than half of all known species in Canada. With the inclusion of 50,534 species, an increase of over 20,000 species from the report published five years ago, the Wild Species 2020 report represents the most complete inventory of Canada’s biodiversity to date.
The first step in preventing the loss of species is to identify those that exist, where they are, and their status. The report’s results indicate that 80 percent of the assessed species are secure, while 20 percent are at some level of risk of extinction in Canada. The data in this report will support provinces, territories, municipalities, and partners in their conservation efforts, and inform the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada of the species that may be at risk.
The Government of Canada has made historic investments and taken significant action to protect species at risk. Earlier this week, the government announced that $8.7 million will be invested to support 67 conservation projects across Canada led by communities, individuals, and non-government organizations taking action to recover species at risk in their communities. This builds on work to protect key species at risk including caribou, monarch butterflies, sage grouse, right whales, southern resident killer whales, and more. Through the 2 Billion Trees program, important progress is also being made to replant important tree species in local habitat.
From December 7–19, 2022, Canada will welcome the Parties to the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity in Montréal, Quebec, for COP15, which will focus on the negotiation of a new Global Biodiversity Framework. This important international conference will be a landmark event with thousands of delegates from around the world gathered to take action on protecting nature. Canada will take a strong leadership role, along with international partners, in championing the development of an ambitious framework with clear targets and actions that also recognizes the important role Indigenous peoples and communities play in conservation and biodiversity. Canada is committed to halting and reversing nature loss by 2030 and achieving a full recovery for nature by 2050, and conserving 25 percent of land and oceans by 2025, working toward 30 percent of each by 2030.
“This remarkable collaboration of scientists and all levels of government across the country gives us a deeper common knowledge of tens of thousands of species, from the animal kingdom to the plant kingdom and beyond. The Wild Species 2020 report is a key contribution to supporting the protection of Canada’s biodiversity. Together, we must maintain our collective work to ensure the conservation of all species.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“The Wild Species 2020 report brought together information from around the country, including updated and expanded scientific, local, and Indigenous knowledge from across the Northwest Territories. This knowledge is necessary for balanced and evidence-based decision-making when considering the protection of species that have tremendous importance both ecologically and culturally. We will continue to collaborate with our co-management partners to bring together diverse knowledge holders to continue to build on our understanding of the Northwest Territories’ biodiversity.”
– The Honourable Shane Thompson, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources,
Government of Northwest Territories
“Protecting Canada’s aquatic species and environments is a shared responsibility that requires mutual support and collaboration. The commitment to support Canada’s biodiversity shown in the development of the Wild Species 2020 report is greatly appreciated. The report will help realize our commitment to continuously improve results in protecting aquatic biodiversity.”
– The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“A crucial step in preventing species loss is to identify which species exist, where they are found, and their status. That’s why this national assessment, conducted every five years, is so essential. Canada is working with partners around the world to develop a common global framework to restore and protect biodiversity. You can’t do that without a solid baseline of knowledge. Knowledge is power.”
– Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
The Wild Species report is one of the most comprehensive species inventories at the national scale in the world. Hundreds of Canadian scientists participated in the creation of the report in partnership with federal, provincial, and territorial governments, through the National General Status Working Group. The Government of Northwest Territories was the Working Group Co-Chair for the Wild Species 2020 report, alongside Environment and Climate Change Canada.
The species identified by the National General Status Working Group as being at risk are species that could be potential candidates for more detailed assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. This committee of experts assesses species suspected of being at risk of extinction or extirpation.
The Wild Species 2020 report is the fifth in the series since its inception in 2000. It builds upon the 2015 report, which assessed 29,848 species. The largest group of species added to this report is the macrofungi, with 6,951 species.
Canada is home to an estimated 80,000 species, excluding viruses and bacteria. Scientists in partnership with federal, provincial, and territorial governments through the National General Status Working Group are making progress to eventually assess all Canadian wild species through this series of reports.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
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