Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) COSEWIC assessment and status report: chapter 3
COSEWIC History, Mandate, Membership and Definitions
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) was created in 1977 as a result of a recommendation at the Federal-Provincial Wildlife Conference held in 1976. It arose from the need for a single, official, scientifically sound, national listing of wildlife species at risk. In 1978, COSEWIC designated its first species and produced its first list of Canadian species at risk. On June 5, 2003, the Species at Risk Act (SARA) was proclaimed. SARA establishes COSEWIC as an advisory body ensuring that species will continue to be assessed under a rigorous and independent scientific process.
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assesses the national status of wild species, subspecies, varieties, or other designatable units that are considered to be at risk in Canada. Designations are made on native species and include the following taxonomic groups: mammals, birds, reptÎles, amphibians, fishes, arthropods, molluscs, vascular plants, mosses, and lichens.
COSEWIC comprises members from each provincial and territorial government wildlife agency, four federal organizations (Canadian Wildlife Service, Parks Canada Agency, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Federal Biosystematic Partnership, chaired by the Canadian Museum of Nature), three nonjurisdictional members and the co-chairs of the species specialist and the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge subcommittees. The committee meets to consider status reports on candidate species.
(after May 2004)
Any indigenous species, subspecies, variety, or geographically or genetically distinct population of wild fauna and flora.
- Extinct (X)
A species that no longer exists.
- Extirpated (XT)
A species no longer existing in the wild in Canada, but occurring elsewhere.
- Endangered (E)
A species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
- Threatened (T)
A species likely to become endangered if limiting factors are not reversed.
- Special Concern (SC) 1
A species that may become a threatened or an endangered species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.
- Not at Risk (NAR) 2
A species that has been evaluated and found to be not at risk.
- Data Deficient (DD) 3
A species for which there is insufficient scientific information to support status designation.
Canadian Wildlife Service
The Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, provides full administrative and financial support to the COSEWIC Secretariat.
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